SRINAGAR: In occupied Kashmir, the puppet administration often beats the drum of being “equipped and ready” to meet all natural and man-made eventualities, but the gutting of Dastgeer Sahib shrine has brought the claims under question of the civil society in the territory.
What has essentially put the puppet administration in dock is the failure of its Waqf Board, which earns revenue of millions of rupees annually to equip all shrines under its control with the basic facilities like fire extinguishers and fire-tenders.
“Waqf Board is not a small organization in terms of finances. It earns huge financial revenue every year. But when the shrines like Dastgeer Sahib are without basic amenities like fire-extinguishers and fire-tenders one has all the reasons to raise a question mark over the Waqf infrastructure and spending,” said a group of angry youth at Khanyar, where the shrine is located, while talking to media persons representing different organisations.
“Is Waqf Board so poor that it can’t purchase fire-tenders and fire-extinguishers? This lapse on part of the Waqf authorities is simply unpardonable,” said Ghulam Qadir, a devotee. “If the money can’t be utilized in equipping shrines with emergency-nature facilities, what for is it then?” he asked.
Qadir, who hails from Bandipora district of Kashmir, links the Waqf’s failure with a famous legend associated with Bandipora district, dating back to the times when Maharajas ruled Jammu and Kashmir. It is believed that when a fire incident took place in Bandipora once, it would be a Maharaja who would order his subordinates to put a fire-tender into service.
“When a fire incident took place here, the subordinates approached the Maharaja immediately. However, the sanction for the fire-tender usage came nine months after the incident. The Maharaja had said Bujha Diya Jayey (douse it),” said 75-year-old Qadir. “This is exactly what has happened with the Waqf Board,” he added.