Srinagar: As normal life resumed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley on Saturday, Kashmir survived yet another tragedy — this time without any blood being spilt on the roads.
The destruction of the second holiest Muslim shrine of the Valley in a mysterious blaze on Monday threw Kashmiris into a state of shock and mourning, reminding one of a similar tragedy in 1995 when the shrine of the Valley’s patron saint, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, was destroyed in a blaze in central Kashmir’s Charar-e-Sharief town.
The reverence of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, known as Peer Dastgeer by the Muslims and Kahnoow by the local Hindus, extends back centuries.
The relics preserved inside the over-300-year-old include a hair of the saint’s beard, a Quranic manuscript by Iman Ali Murtaza, son-in-law of the Prophet and another manuscript by Caliph Abu Bakr. The relics are believed to have been brought here by an Afghan governor 337 years ago.
As the news about the destruction of the shrine spread, some youths started pelting stones at the security forces, who clamped curfew-like restrictions in the trouble prone areas of the old city.
It must be said to the credit of the people that despite the shock and mourning over the destruction of the Muslim shrine, Amarnath pilgrimage continued without a hiccup. While roads remained deserted during the last five days, nobody stopped or interfered with the hundreds of vehicles carrying pilgrims to the Amarnath Cave.
The state government did not go into hiding. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited the shrine site, cutting short his London visit. Governor NN Vohra, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, state Congress chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Mehooba Mufti visited the site in sharp contrast to 2010 summer unrest when all mainstream leaders had gone into hiding.
“And if you want to see examples of people who would rather have seen blood spilt on the streets take a look at my timeline”, Abdullah tweeted.