Srinagar: A fortnight ago, Kashmir University’s Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) in Naseem Bagh caught fire during the night and no newspaper reported the incident. Even though the hungry flames inside the cafe devoured its furniture and machines, the owner wants the news to be buried under the fire debris.
“I will get its compensation from the company. Why do I need to highlight it?” Aamir Ahmad, cafe’s owner, told Narrator over phone.
However, many smell rat in the incident as the external wooden structure of the cafe is intact with little damage.
“It is impossible that the wooden structure will remain intact while the fire devours everything inside. You look at the pictures you will realise it. There is more to this than meets the eye,” a university official told Narrator on the condition of anonymity.
The official also questions the cause of the fire which the owner said was short circuit.
“One fails to understand as to why the short circuits only take place at night when the switches are off and not during the day when electricity is being used?” the official asked.
A little known news portal did report the incident but with atrocious language and a visible slant. “The incident has taken place during the intervening night of 5 (sic),” the report said. Four pictures of the damaged furniture and machines were uploaded by the portal with only two lines to describe the incident.
Yesterday evening, Zabarwan guest house in KU’s Naseem Bagh caught fire at around 7:45. Again, the leading newspapers decided not to report the news, with few exceptions.
Chief Proctor, Naseer Iqbal, said that prima facie the cause of the fire is short circuit but “more investigation is needed to know the exact cause”.
“We have fire extinguishers in every building, since it was a massive fire, we called in fire fighters to douse the flames,” Iqbal told Narrator.
A varsity press note said that the Vice Chancellor later ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The building was earlier occupied by government forces and was vacated only in 2000.
The Kashmir University is going through a crisis presently with the present VC Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi locking horns with the bureaucracy over his tenure extension. He was appointed in 2014.
The High Court, recently, said that the tenure of the VC ended in October last year as he was appointed for a period of three years only. The University Act 1969, however, was amended in 2015 and extended the tenure of VCs from three years to five years.