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Ghulam Nabi Azad criticises police in Kashmir for firing tear gas shells inside mosque

Jammu(PTI): Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday criticised the security forces over the alleged incident of firing of tear gas shells inside a mosque in Srinagar during a protest.

“I am pained to read that teargas shells have been directly fired inside the grand mosque (Jamia Masjid) of Kashmir,” he said.

Chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, yesterday claimed that police fired tear smoke shells inside Jamia Masjid (grand mosque) during protests after Friday prayers in Nowhatta area in Srinagar. He has termed the action as “interference in religious affairs”.

‘Anjuman Awqaf Jama Masjid’ and Hurriyat had called for a strike in Srinagar today against the incident. Azad on Saturday slammed the police authorities for what he said use of excessive force and said that it speaks of the callousness of the police force, who are at the helm of affairs.

He also criticised the administration and alleged that it failed to maintain the sanctity of the grand mosque resulting in public anger.

“Forces could have dealt with the situation and handful of elements and trouble makers without using the teargas shells,” the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said in a statement.

As soon as the prayers were over at the mosque on Friday, a large number of youth raised pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans and tried to march towards Nowhatta Chowk, police officials had said.

Security forces deployed there asked the youths to disperse but they pelted stones at the forces leading to clashes between the two sides. Some youth allegedly waved Pakistan and IS flags during the protest, they had said.

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