Kashmir valley is called the garden of saints, Sufis and rashes. Its natural beauty and pristine purity would attract them towards penance and prayers and they spread the message of peace and tolerance among the people. Many spiritualists, ascetics and missionaries from ancient times visited Kashmir with message of peace and tranquillity and thus created among the local people a humanistic culture of highest order.
One of the great saints who visited Kashmir in 14th century was Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani from the province of Geelan in Iran. In the locality of Khanyar in downtown Srinagar, a spacious complex by the name of the shrine of Pir Dastgeer was established in his name and it became a sanctified place for the visitations of the saint. Unfortunately, in June 2012 the shrine was badly gutted in a mysterious fire and the imposing structure was razed to ground. This caused much agony to the people and the devotees of the saint who are not small in number. The Government took a note of the blaze and the destruction it had caused to the shrine building and committed to rebuilding and renovating it and raising a spectacular structure after the Islamic traditions. Consequently, the concerned departments were put to work. The estimate of expenditure on the new plan was around 1607 lakh rupees out of which 1200 lakh had been provided. After that flow of funds stopped and the work of renovation and reconstruction came to a standstill. On enquiry we have come to know that the work had to be stopped owing to paucity of funds as the value of the work done was to the tune or rupees 1400 lakh and the Government owed rupees 150 lakh for the construction of the new mosque.
Reports suggest that the entire complex is in a bad condition and the devotees are facing many difficulties to pay obeisance at the shrine. The boundary wall is non-existence, wash rooms are in a dismal condition and the control room all of timber is too dangerous to house the main power centre because if there is short circuit by chance the room will immediately catch fire being made of timber. The attendants at the shrine were sore that the Government despite making tall claims has not released funds to the construction agency namely JKPCC.
We like to entreat the Government that since the sentiments of a vast majority of people in the valley and especially in Srinagar are attached to this popular shrine, necessary funding be provided immediately so that repair, reconstruction and renovation work is resumed without loss of time.