Visitors banned from Kashmir shrine some claim is tomb of Jesus

By Reuters Staff
April 29, 2010
kashmir

A Kashmiri Muslim woman prays at the Rozabal Shrine in Srinagar on April 22, 2010/Danish Ismail

Who is buried at a small shrine in Kashmir? Jesus or two medieval Muslim scholars?

Renewed debate over whose remains are actually in the Rozabal shrine, which attracts hundreds of tourists to the capital of lndia’s only Muslim-dominated region, has led caretakers to close it to visitors after allowing access for several years.

A decades-old theory that Jesus survived the crucifixion and spent his remaining years in Kashmir had drawn many people to Rozabal, a single-storey shrine with a traditional sloping roof located in a congested residential area of the capital Srinagar.

But most locals believe the shrine is the final resting place of Muslim preachers and scholars Youza Asif and Syed Naseer-ud-Din, who lived in the area centuries ago. The increasing traffic has angered them, prompting security fears in a region that has seen its fair share of violence.

“Some Christians from the West claim it is the grave of Jesus and they had approached us with a request to exhume the remains for carbon dating and DNA testing. But we refused,” Mohammad Amin Ringshawl, the shrine’s caretaker, told Reuters.  “By claiming Rozabal is Jesus’ tomb, the foreigners are hurting Muslim sentiments, so to avoid any trouble we have locked the sanctum sanctorum.”

Read the full story by Srinagar correspondent Sheikh Mushtaq here.

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