Press Trust of india

Fire damages oldest mosques in Kargil ahead of ‘Shab-e-Barat’ prayers

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Kargil:  A fire damaged one of the oldest Shia mosques here in the Union Territory of Ladakh, hours before the start of night prayers of ‘Shab-e-Barat’, officials said on Monday.

The fire broke out at Balti Bazar masjid at 6.15 pm Sunday and within no time engulfed the entire structure, an official of the Fire and Emergency Services said.

He said fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the blaze was controlled within three hours, avoiding damage to nearby structures including an adjoining ‘Imam Barah’ and residential houses.

Quoting preliminary information, police said the fire was apparently caused by the candles which were used to illuminate the mosque in view of ‘Shab-e-Barat’, which is observed by Muslims on the intervening night of the 14th and 15th days of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil, Mohammad Jaffer Akhoon along with Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Shrikant Suse visited the site to assess the damage, an official spokesperson said.

He said the mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the Kargil district and is known for its historical and heritage importance.

While taking an assessment of the damage, Akhoon was informed that the first floor of the mosque was affected by fire causing loss of assets and heritage antiques, the spokesperson said.

He said the local residents requested immediate covering of the rooftop with temporary sheets, and the entire building needs restoration and reconstruction.

The CEC underlined the importance of small fire extinguishers at the locality level and said the matter would be taken with the Lieutenant Governor.

Akhoon thanked the Army for taking swift action by deputing their fire tenders and for the disaster management activities.

The CEC assured the Mohalla committee that necessary provisions would be made for the provision of solar panels for the mosque, taking into consideration their availability.

 

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