Congress on Sunday strongly condemned the hurling of a shoe at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during the Independence Day function in Srinagar and said “divisive forces” in the Valley could be behind it.

The party, which felt throwing footwear has become a “fashion” nowadays, said the incident should be probed and the guilty must be punished.

“I think the whole incident should be condemned in the strongest possible words. I think it has become a fashion to hurl shoes on anyone without thinking about the consequences.

This incident is completely uncalled for and whoever has done it must be punished,” senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said.

Suspended policeman Abdul Ahad Jan hurled a shoe towards the dais where Abdullah was taking salute after unfurling the tricolour at the Independence Day function in Srinagar.

Mr. Shukla said “divisive forces which are quite active in the Valley” may be behind the incident.

“It looks as if they (the divisive forces) have got this connections within the security officials also. So I think the entire matter should be probed and guilty must be found.”

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, father of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, said the policeman, who threw the shoe, must have been angry as action was taken against him by the government.

“The policeman is angry because he was dismissed from the job. So how does it matter. One mad man does something, does it mean everybody is mad,” he said when asked about the incident.

Jan, a head constable who was suspended in May after a criminal case was registered against him, was whisked away by security personnel immediately after he flung a brown leather shoe from the VIP enclosure behind the dais where he was sitting during the function at Bakshi Stadium, police said.