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Sufi Shrine Destroyed in Kashmir

  • VOA News

Kashmiri residents watch as firefighters try to extinguish a fire at the nearly 200-years-old Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani Shrine, popularly known as Ghaus-e-Azam, or Dastgeer Sahab, in downtown Srinagar, India, June 25, 2012.

Kashmiri residents watch as firefighters try to extinguish a fire at the nearly 200-years-old Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani Shrine, popularly known as Ghaus-e-Azam, or Dastgeer Sahab, in downtown Srinagar, India, June 25, 2012.

Officials in Indian Kashmir say a fire has destroyed a revered Muslim shrine.

Known as Dastageer Sahib, the shrine housed the tomb of Sufi mystic Syed Abdul Qadir in Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city, Srinagar.

Authorities say the more-than-200-year-old wooden shrine was quickly engulfed in flames.

Firefighters were pelted with stones when they arrived at the shrine. Protesters were angry at what they said was the firefighters' slow response.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

The fire triggered several protests around the city, prompting police to fire tear gas.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan. Since 1989, Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or for a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. At least 50,000 people have died in the violence.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the Himalayan region since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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