Srinagar is boiling over the destruction of 11th century revered Sufi shrine in fire accident. Enraged mob resorted to stone pelting, thus forcing the police to lob teargas to control the unruly protesters. At least six people were injured in the clash.
The fire accident incinerated the 350-year-old wooden shrine which housed a relic of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, setting off an outrage in the troubled state. Initial reports indicated short-circuit as the cause of the fire incident.
The main relic inside the sanctum sanatorium is supposedly safe.
The angry mob set a fire tender vehicle ablaze and pelted stones at firemen, including media persons. Following the fire accident, scores of devotees gathered at the incident crying and wailing.
"After morning prayers, fire started from the roof top of the shrine. We're still trying to determine the cause," said Farooq Ahmad, a police official at the scene.
"The holy relic of the Sufi saint is safe and has been retrieved."
"I feel like I've lost everything," cried a 45-year-old woman, Shameema Akhtar.
Jammu and Kashmir has been a victim of riots and clashes over the years. Few groups, who are hell bent on separating Kashmir from India once and for all, has been fuelling violence in the state, often causing lives and properties losses.
Muslim militants spearheading the anti-India campaign in Kashmir have in the past tried to enforce a radical form of Islam, banning beauty parlours, cinemas and liquor shops, as well as asking women to wear the veil but they have had little success in a region where people mostly follow Sufiism, a gentle, mystic tradition of Islam. Tens of thousands of people have been killed over the years of strife in the region.
Authorities claimed that violence in the state has recently fallen to a new low since the anti-India revolt broke out in 1989, but Monday's clashes will be a reminder of how volatile the region can be.
(With inputs from Reuters)