Braid chopping: Why is Kashmir going haywire?

Braid chopping becoming a menace in the South Kashmir Valley

Braid chopping becoming a menace in the South Kashmir Valley
Braid chopping becoming a menace in the South Kashmir Valley

  • Braid chopping incidents becoming a nightmare for security forces
  • Mentally deranged boy mercilessly beaten up by ‘hooligans’ before policemen rescued him
  • Mehbooba Mufti-led alliance government failing to restore order?

Ahead of the peak winter season Kashmir valley is going haywire

The militants who are trained across the Line of Control (LoC) may have been registering their presence by carrying out audacious strikes on vital security installations but it is the mass hysteria generated around alleged braid chopping incidents which are giving sleepless nights to foot soldiers on ground zero.

The victims alleged that unknown assailants cut their hair after knocking them unconscious with some spray. Many people accuse the police of being behind these incidents or, at least, shielding the culprits.

The civilians too are growing nervous and enforcing tight restrictions on the movement of girl children and adult women to prevent any fresh incident of braid chopping.

Already security personnel has been targeted by an angry mob as they suspected them to be behind the braid chopping incidents in a bid to trigger unrest in Kashmir valley.

The misguided youth are motivated by inimical forces to trigger unrest in Kashmir valley by targeting soldiers standing guard on ground zero.

Coupled with this frequent incidence of targeted killing of PDP workers is adding to the challenge of restoring order across the Kashmir Valley ahead of shifting of Durbar move offices from Srinagar to Jammu for a period of next six months.

So far the Mehbooba Mufti-led alliance government has failed to restore order by identifying the real culprits behind the mysterious braid chopping incidents.

At the same time, separatists are fuelling anger across Kashmir valley by giving regular bandh calls and channelising people’s anger against the failure of the alliance government in the state to check growing incidents of braid chopping.

DGP directed district police chiefs to unmask real culprits

On Friday the Director General of state Police (DGP), Dr. S P Vaid directed the district police chiefs to launch an aggressive drive to identify and punish these miscreants trying to trigger unrest across Kashmir valley.

Before militant handlers can take advantage of the volatile situation across South Kashmir districts the state police force is working round the clock to unravel the mystery behind rising incidents of braid chopping, official sources said.

On Friday as two fresh incidents of braid chopping came to light two innocents found themselves on the wrong side of the fence.

In Sopore, angry youngsters desperately tried to set on fire a mentally deranged person on suspicion of him being a braid chopper.

In Srinagar, another worshipper was beaten up mercilessly during a visit to the famous Hazratbal shrine on the banks of the Dal Lake.

Superintendent of Police, Sopore Harmeet Singh said, “a mob caught hold of the mentally deranged person and thrashed him severely on suspicion of being a braid chopper in Sopore’s Pothkhan, Nowpora area on Friday”.

The victim was later identified as Waseem Ahmed, a resident of Sharakawara village of Baramulla district.

Ahmed, beaten black and blue was rescued by the police and taken to a Srinagar hospital in critical condition.

A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered and some of the miscreants involved in the attack have been identified by the police. Following this development sporadic incidents of stone pelting and clashes broke out between the local residents and paramilitary forces. To contain angry mobs the paramilitary forces fired tear smoke shells.

In another incident reported from near Hazratbal area, a mob tried to lynch a person after accusing him of being a braid chopper.

The police said that he had come to Hazratbal to offer prayers at the famed shrine but was “mistaken” as a braid chopper by the locals and beaten up mercilessly. The mob also tried to kill him by drowning him in the Dal Lake, the police said.

Two days ago a Special Police Officer who was on a visit to the area to meet his brother, a student of Kashmir University, at his rented accommodation was also beaten up by a mob on suspicion of being braid chopper.

Senior PDP minister expresses anger over growing incidents of attacks on innocents

“Whether braid chopping is real or hysterical, physical or psychological one thing has become clear. We as a people are the worst posters of what we claim to be. Kashmiris or Muslims. Neither Kashmir’s ethos nor the teachings of the religion that we claim to be following allow, much less recommend the kind of behavior that we display.

The political position from where I operate currently would obviously invite questions about my own role. But that will only be an argument. It won’t solve the problem. Neither would arguing resolve the severe moral crisis facing us. It is a millstone around OUR neck and we alone can and must throw it away. You, me and every Kashmiri.

No braid chopper has been apprehended so far. But numerous innocent persons have become the victims of our collective criminal behavior. The Sopore incident, bone-chilling as it is, is only the latest. We are only proving those people right who want us painted black. Having reached here in our disastrous moral descent we will need no one to argue against us. And of course, no one can argue in our favor too.

Unless we introspect and speak up. SPEAKUP,” he said.

Wave of terror?

Frequent incidents of braid chopping have triggered a fresh wave of terror among the Valley’s women and girls.

The victims alleged that unknown assailants cut their hair after knocking them unconscious with some spray. Many people accuse the police of being behind these incidents or, at least, shielding the culprits.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range Munir Ahmed Khan, denied the charge and said that Special Investigation Teams (SITs) have been set up to probe the incidents and 24×7 helplines were started in all the ten districts of the Valley earlier to enable people to seek its help in preventing their re-occurrence.

The police also announced a reward of Rs.600,000 for credible information leading to arrest of the person behind braid chopping. However, the authorities are clueless and no formal arrests have been made, so far.

The police said that not only have vigilante mobs thrashed innocents mistaking them for braid choppers which have resulted in the death of, at least, one person, the situation has been seized by some people to settle personal scores.

Braid chopping incidents undermining the dignity of women: Mehbooba Mufti

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, had last week said that braid-chopping incidents were attempts to create mass hysteria and undermine the dignity of women in the State.

“Braid chopping incidents are attempts to create mass hysteria and undermine the dignity of the women in the State. The government will ensure steps are taken to find the motives behind these,” she said after chairing a meeting of officials in Srinagar.

Earlier she had issued ‘strict instructions’ to the divisional administration and the police to arrest the culprits found involved the braid chopping incidents in the State.


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