During past four months of ongoing unrest, at least 645 structures were damaged in mysterious fire incidents across Kashmir.
The mysterious fire incidents created panic across Kashmir as no district remained untouched by these incidents.
Official data reveals, in October 2016, 242 structures were damaged in mysterious fire incidents. Structures, including residential houses, schools, shops and shopping complexes were gutted. Besides these structures vehicles and PDD transformers were also burnt by the unknown persons.
The fire incidents first occurred in south Kashmir and later these spread to other districts across Kashmir.
In October, this year, the highest number of mysterious fire incidents occurred in Kupwara witnessing damage to 47 structures, followed by Baramulla 38, Anantnag (Islamabad) 34, Srinagar 25, Budgam 19, Shopian 19, Pulwama 18, Ganderbal 17, Kulgam 13 and Bandipora 12.
On October 29, this year, Kashmir, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), while expressing its concern over rise in mysterious fire incidents had said, "Not only schools but even shrines and shops are going up in flames."
The KEA had also said: "For the last over a month (September-October) apart from schools, which happen to be our national assets, Shrines, Masjids and marketplaces were being set ablaze mysteriously as a part of some deep rooted conspiracy."
On October 11, at least six shops were gutted in a mysterious fire incident at Qamarwari Chowk.
On October 21, this year, a two storey Masjid and the famous Lalbab Sahib Shrine were gutted in a fire in late evening, in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. On the same evening, the shrine of Lader ud Din Sahab was gutted in Anderwan area of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district.
On October 24, four mutton shops were gutted in a mysterious fire during the night at Kunzar in north Kashmir's Tangmarg area.
Official data reveals that in the month of July, this year, 176 structures were gutted in the fire. The structures include shops, shopping complexes, residential houses, vehicles and electronic transformers.
In July this year the highest number of structures were gutted in south Kashmir's Anantnag (Islamabad) district, which was worst hit due to the present unrest. As per official records, 52 structures were damaged in Anantnag (Islamabad), followed by Kupwara 29 structures, Baramulla 18, Srinagar 15, Kulgam and Pulwama 14 each, Budgam 8, Bandipora 7 and Ganderbal 5.
In August, 108 structures were gutted. Twenty two were damaged in Srinagar, followed by 18 in Budgam, 16 in Baramulla, 14 in Kulgam, 11 in Anantnag, 10 in Kupwara and 6 in Bandipora.
In September, 119 structures were gutted in Kashmir. Anantnag (Islamabad) district again topped the list with 27 structures, it was followed by 17 in Baramulla, 14 in Kupwara, 14 in Srinagar, 11 in Ganderbal, seven in Budgam and Kulgam and six in Bandipora.
On September 21, five shops were gutted in a mysterious fire incident at General Bus Stand Baramulla and on September 25 four more shops and a godown were gutted in the same General bus stand of Baramulla town in north Kashmir.
A window of SP College in Srinagar was damaged in a mysterious fire incident on November 3 while a school was gutted in a mysterious fire in Naidkhai area of north Kashmir's Bandipora district same evening.
On Nov 4, mysterious fire erupted in the building of Government primary School Dugpora Gadoora, in Ganderbal, damaging a makeshift kitchen and the school building partially.
At least 30 shops were gutted in a mysterious blaze in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on November 4.
A senior police official said that various private and public structures were set ablaze by arsonists. "All cases are not mysterious fire incidents. Many structures were set ablaze by miscreants. Many of them have been identified and arrested," he said.
RS Sodhi, Director General of Fire and Emergency Services said that his department had responded quickly to these incidents and saved property worth crores. "Our priority is control the fire without any delay and avoid loss of human lives at any cost," he added.