Srinagar, May 27: Complete shutdown was observed in Downtown here on Saturday to protest the use of force on protesters on people by government forces at Jamia Masjid there on Friday.
At least 50 people, including women, were injured after police and paramilitary forces fired tear gas and pellets to disperse protests near Jamia Masjid on Friday.
All shops and other business establishments remained closed on Saturday in the area following a shutdown call by the Jamia market traders’ federation against “desecration” of the grand masjid.
The anger grew further after the photographs went viral on social networking sites showing an exploded teargas shell on the roof of Jamia Masjid. “This shell has potential to burn the entire state?,” wrote one of the users on Facebook.
Another photograph, which went viral shows the cops training guns at the main entrance at Jamia Masjid. “It reminds of situation at Masjid Aqsa,” wrote a facebook user.
Traders of Downtown expressed resentment against the forces’ action and demanded immediate suspension of cops and troopers who fired pellets and teargas shells inside the Jamia Masjid.
“We won’t tolerate desecration of the Jamia Masjid. We ask government to initiate inquiry and punish the accused forces” said Nazir Ahmad Shah, chairman Shaher-e-Khaas Traders coordination committee.
“If government won’t take any action, we will be forced to launch state wide agitation,” Shah said.
The clashes intensified, resulting in injuries to several among the protesters and shopkeepers, many of them hit by pellets in their faces, chests, and eyes.
Several women were left unconscious after the forces fired PAVA shells inside the mosque, pellets even hit the wooden pillars of the historic Mosque.
As per the traders, scores of the tear-smoke shells and pellets landed inside the mosque and injured the people offering prayers.
The Hurriyat (M) says that the historic Jamia Masjid will be closed for further prayers until the blood spilled on its floors is cleaned.
He said that blood of the injured is spread all over the mosque and needs to be cleaned first, adding that boys were only protesting when police started firing pellets and tear gas canisters at them.
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Witnesses said the protesters ran towards the mosque as clashes intensified in the area with forces chasing them right into the thousands of worshippers who had come from different parts of the Valley to offer the second Friday prayers of Ramazan at the historic mosque. “Several civilians injured after police fire pellets inside Jamia Masjid premises from main gate.
I saw atleast 5 people with pellets in eyes. #Kashmir protests and shelling intensifies. Locked inside Jamia,” Mohammad Rafi, a Srinagar-based journalist, who offered prayers at the mosque wrote on Facebook.
Witnesses said the pellet fire resulted in eye injuries to at least ten persons, “The floor of the prayer hall was bloodied due to shelling by forces,” sources said.