Srinagar: One of the Kashmir’s most revered shrine, Khanqah-e-Moulla in Old city caught fire late on Tuesday night, resulting in the severe damage to the upper portion including the minaret. The rest of the building comprising of wooden marvel and papier machie works however, remained safe.
The blaze as per the witnesses occurred due to the lightening at 01:00 am in the intervening night of Tuesday-Wednesday.
Witnesses said that Parvez Ahmad, one among the Khadims (caretakers) who resides in the lawns of the shrine was the first who observe the blaze.
“He came out from his house and called everyone to douse the fire,” witnesses said. They said that the locals gathered immediately however as the minaret is located some 100 feet above the ground, they could hardly do anything.
“As soon as the fire incident occurred, hundreds of locals including men, women, youth rushed towards the shrine to battle the flames,” Ghulam Rasool, an elderly living nearby said.
Notably, the burning of the main minaret triggered emotional scenes at the premises of the shrine with many elderly, youth and women terming it as a warning from Almighty Allah.
Locals however, hailed the efforts of Fire and Emergency Services officials, saying that they did a wonderful job and doused the fire efficiently.
“The employees risked their lives and managed to save the rest of building,” locals said.
They said that the flames that started at 01:00 am ended at 04:30 am, leaving the minaret completely damaged.
Officials told Kashmir Vision that the damage occured due to the blaze is being ascertained.
“We are accessing the damage caused due to the flames,” an official present on the spot said.
The F&ES officials stationed in the premises of shrine told Kashmir vision that it took them more than two hours to control the fire.
“The flames were quite lofty and it seemed they were uncontrollable, but it was a divine intervention that we could douse the flames within two hours,” a fireman who was on the forefront said.
he said that despite the structure being a wooden one and that too centuries old, no major damage was done to the structure except the minaret, that was damaged completely.
Meanwhile, various Islamic clerics and political leaders visited the shrine.
Those who visited the shrine includes, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari, MLA Khanyar, Ali Muhammad Sagar, MLC Khursheed Aalam, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman and Jamia Masjid’s head cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Karwan-e-Islam president, Moulana Ghulam Rasool Hami, Eidgah legislator Mubarak Gul and others.
Besides, the Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Range, Munir Ahmad Khan, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Abid Rashid Shah, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Central Kashmir Range, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, SMC commissioner Riyaz Ahmad Wani and others were also present in the shrine, accessing the damages and situation.
Built in memory of renowned Muslim saint, scholar and preacher Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, the shrine mosque is highly revered as it stands out in reverence to the saint whose teachings helped spread of Islam in the Valley.
Kashmiris reverently call Mir Syed Ali Hamadani “Amir-e-Kabeer” (Great Commander) and “Shah-e-Hamadan” (King of Hamadan).
He was born in Hamadan, Persia, in 1314 and breathed his last in 1384. The saint’s mausoleum is in Khatlan, Tajikistan.