On the banks of river Jhelum in old city Srinagar, people were done with the daily errands. The city was asleep. It was 1:30 in the morning, when a loud bang forced them out of their beds.
“There was hue and cry from every side. As I rushed out, there was massive fire and smoke emanating from the Khanqah astaan,” a wailing 60-yr-old, Muhammad Ashraf said. Ashraf lives just opposite to the Khanqah.
By the time people assembled, fire had almost engulfed the minaret completely and it was spreading.
“The youth of Khanqah and adjoining areas, including Fateh Kadal, Bohri Kadal and even Khanyar came in rushing to douse the flames,” he said. By, now, the fire fighters had reached the spot.
The firemen and the youth jointly started dousing the flames and after hectic efforts the fire was brought under control. But, not before the minaret was damaged.
“The youth played a very important role in dousing the flames,” a fireman who was part of the operation informed.
As soon as the news about the fire in one of the most revered Khaqah’s of kashmir spread, it shocked people. “I am absolutely dusted after the news broke to me,” a devotee who had travelled from a neighbouring district to ascertain whether the news was true, said.
Grieving on the staircases of the Khanqah, tears rolled down his cheeks while some locals were consoling him.
Khanqa-e-Moula, situated on the banks of Jehlum river, is one of the oldest Muslim Khanqah’s in Kashmir. The Khanqa was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1395 in memory of renowned Muslim Scholar Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA).
“It is one of the oldest Khanqah’s of the valley and we have great attachment with it,” said another wailing devotee.
What concerns most of the people was the safety of the relic of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani. However, the caretakers of the Khanqah said that the relic was safe. “The Holy Relic is safe and I appeal to the people not to pay heed to the rumours,” on of the caretakers informed Kashmir Life.
A female devotee who had travelled all the way from a southern Kashmir district said that as the news spread in their village, dozens of villagers assembled and drove to Srinagar. “She felt restless when the news broke. She forced me to drive him to Khanqah,” her son said.
Amir-e-Kabeer came to Kashmir from the city of Hamdan in Persia in the 13th century and played a pivotal role in the spread of Islam in Kashmir valley.