Srinagar: Burglars decamped with cash from Kashmir’s revered shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani at Khanyar area of Srinagar in the dead of the night, leaving shrine management body red-faced.
Sajada Nisheen of the shrine Khalid Hussain Geelani told Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that thieves entered the shrine in the dead of the night and stole cash. “I have no idea how much cash has been stolen from the charity box,” he said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal told KNO that police have taken cognizance of the incident and investigations have been set into motion.
Locals in Khanyar and other adjoining areas of Downtown question the role of the shrine management saying that after the security of shrines was withdrawn last year, it was the sole responsibility of the shrine management body to take care of shrines and to prevent theft and fire-related incidents.
“Wasn’t there a night watchman,” asked Abdul Rashid Khan, who has been a frequent visitor to the shrine since his childhood.
Khan, a resident of nearby Saraf Kadal, said that it was the sole responsibility of shrine management since there is no security at shrines across Kashmir especially Srinagar since April 2019. Policemen deployed at the shrines for security purpose prior to April 2019 were without weapons and it was felt that there was a security risk after which police security from the majority of shrines was withdrawn.
Similarly, many women devotees who came to the shrine, after knowing about the theft incident, expressed serious concern as to why nobody was awake from the shrine management to prevent the theft incident.
“Shrine management is solely responsible for the theft. Thousands of people pay charity in lakhs in both cash and kind every year at the shrine. There should be accountability. Why the shrine management is not able to hire two watchmen for night duty out of the charity money,” asked a young devotee.
A member of the management of the shrine, wishing not to be named, said that nobody was awake when the incident took place. “There is no idea how much was in the charity box/donation box when the theft took place,” he said.
A police team from Khanyar police station rushed to the spot, collected details, and registered a case. KNO