TV footage showed the bystanders wailing and weeping as they watched the shrine going up in flames. The news of the incident has spread like wild fire across the valley and people are expressing their disgust at the inability of the fire-fighting department to douse the fires. “The shrine is located just a few kms from the city centre and they couldn't control the fire in time. How can they (firefighters) control if a fire breaks out in the interior city. It seems residents here are living at their mercy,” Adnan Ahmad, a student told this Citizen Journalist .
Violence has broken out in Hazratbal area of the city as well after some agitated youth pelted stones on some vehicles, according to a resident, who didn't want to be named.
Though the shrine doesn't house any tomb or masouleum, but a relic of 11th century saint Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani or Peer Dastgeer Sahib is believed to have been brought there by some of his followers from Baghdad where he is buried. The shrine was built during Afghan rule of Kashmir by Khwaja Sakhi Shah Sahib who is believed to have arrived in Kashmir from Baghdad. During the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, an affluent Kashmir Shawl merchant Khwaja Sonaullah is believed to have renovated the shrine.
White and green exterior and a glorious papier-mache interior, laced with scrollwork, Arabic script and floral motifs give a graceful look to the shrine. The shrine is equally revered by Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims. While Muslims call the saint Ghous-ul-Azam Dastgeer, and Pandits revere the saint as Kahnoow.
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