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Geelani calls for Kashmir Valley shutdown to protest over fire-damaged Sufi shrine

June 26, 2012 - Srinagar

Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for shutdown across the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday to protest over the fire that extensively damaged a revered Sufi Muslim shrine here.

The shrine, devoted to Sufi saint Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani, is known as the Pir Dastageer Sahab. A fire damaged it on Monday. The incident triggered off a clash between the police and angry Muslim protesters.

Muzaffar Asif, a local, told reporters that the guilty should be brought to book at the earliest as they had tried to disrupt the peace in the area.

"Entire Kashmir is observing shutdown. The shops are closed and public vehicles are also not seen on the roads. Hurriyat leaders have given a call for shutdown in entire Kashmir. I want that guilty should be brought to book. Why did he do this when peace was prevailing in Kashmir and tourists had started coming to India? People in Kashmir are trying hard to earn their livelihood but some handful people are trying to disrupt peace in the region," said Asif.

Personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed to maintain peace and ensure that no untoward incident takes place.

At least six people were hurt in Srinagar on Monday when police fired teargas at stone-throwing protesters who expressed their anger over the destruction of the 350-year-old wooden shrine that houses a relic of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, a 11th century Sufi saint.


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