Protect the shrines

The authorities must order a probe to ascertain the reasons for the blaze

Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 17 2017 11:05PM | Updated Date: Nov 17 2017 11:05PM

It has now been admitted that the shrines in Kashmir are not safe. However, the safety measures put in place by the concerned are not up to the mark. This harsh reality came to fore during Khankah-e-Moula blaze. The fireman who risked his life while dousing the flames said the only generator for lifting up water was out of order. Here an attempt is not being made to cast aspersions on the authorities but the reports from ground do not project a satisfactory picture of the arrangements made by the authorities to fight emergencies. Somebody must check the equipment daily and report the snags, if any, to the concerned for immediate rectification. This is how emergency services must operate.Waking up at the moment of mishap is disastrous. The people of Kashmir hold all the shrines in high esteem. The shrine of Shah-e-Hamdaan is very special for them for a host of reasons. Besides being a centre of Islamic propagation during Shah-e-Hamdaan’s times, the shrine has played a vital role during the freedom movement, especially in 1930s. It was at this place that the people of Kashmir chose their representatives and Abdul Qadeer delivered his historic speech here. This speech changed the course of Kashmir history. The authorities, therefore, need to take utmost care and caution to preserve the shrine and restore its glory. Some lessons have to be learnt from the previous mistakes. The safety audit of the shrines has already been ordered. This must be completed as soon as possible. This will enable the concerned to take appropriate measures. Meanwhile, the authorities must order a probe to ascertain the reasons for the blaze. To ensure transparency in the probe, the authorities must include some prominent civil society members as well in the probe team. The probe must be completed within specified time. And contrary to past experiences, the probe findings must be made public. The authorities have to address the trust deficit and convey in clear terms that the probe is not aimed at shielding some unscrupulous elements.

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