Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | 6:44 AM


'Braid-chopping' sparks fear and unrest in Kashmir

Friday, October 13, 2017
Whatsapp

There seems to be no end to the mysterious braid chopping incidents as a number of fresh incidents Thursday added to chaos already gripping the Kashmir Valley.

At least 200 women in Kashmir have reported being attacked by masked assailants in the last two months.

The women claimed the attackers sprayed chemicals on their faces and left them unconscious. Upon waking up, they found their hair had been chopped off.

There were fresh protests as news along with rumours spread like wild fires bringing people out in the streets.

Fresh braid chopping incidents were reported from Batamaloo, Palapora Noorbagh and Umarheer localities of Srinagar city on Thursday.

The braid chopping incident in Batamaloo sparked clashes while a large number of men and women hit the road and shouted anti-police and anti-government slogans.

The incident was reported from SD Colony Batmaloo in the afternoon. Earlier a similar incident in the colony was reported on Tuesday.

People also took to roads at Palapora Noorbagh against a braid cutting incident. In Nowgam, police resorted to tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesters who were demanding action against the braid choppers.

According to BMO Wakoora Ganderbal, Dr Waseem people brought a minor girl there whose had been chopped off.

“The girl told us that two unknown persons forced their entry in her home, caught hold of her and chopped her braid,” he said, clarifying that there was no issue of using spray on the girl.

Meanwhile, situation in Wakoora area turned ugly when police and forces used teargas shells against the people who caught hold of two people allegedly involved in braid chopping.

Some persons forced their entry in the home of a 17-year-old girl in Wakoora area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district and cut her hair, according to a report by KNS.

“Some unknown persons today chopped braid of a 17-year old girl after they forced their entry in her home,” report said, adding that the girl (name withheld) was later shifted to local primary health centre for medical checkup.

As the number of these incidents is increasing rapidly with the administration having failed so far to nab any of the culprits, a sense of fair has gripped denizens of the Valley.

At least 200 women in Kashmir have reported being attacked by masked assailants in the last two months.

The women claimed the attackers sprayed chemicals on their faces and left them unconscious. Upon waking up, they found their hair had been chopped off.

The first braid-chopping incident in Kashmir was reported on September 6, when a schoolgirl, Naira Nazir, was attacked.

While police has failed to nab any culprits it has filed at least 40 FIR’s against people it accuses of spreading rumours.

Top police officials privately confess that they can do little except hope the incidents "will vanish soon" as they did elsewhere in India.

However, in Kashmir people have started openly questioning the governments lacklustre attitude towards a problem which has pushed all other issues in the background.

The skepticism was evident during protests which took place on Thursday in various places across Kashmir.

Students of Kashmir University (KU) and Central University Kashmir (CUK) Thursday held protests raising anti-India slogans.

Scores of students putting in hostels assembled on the Kashmir University premises and chanted slogans against the braid chopping incidents. The KU students accused police of being behind these incidents.

At CUK students also raised slogans in favor of Azadi and alleged that the Government of India was behind such incidents in Kashmir.

Carrying banners and placards, the students chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The placards read: ‘end mysterious braid chopping’, ‘bring culprits to book’, and ‘end molestation of women in Kashmir.’

Students also raised slogans against the incumbent government and the police for their incompetence in nabbing the culprits. “Police do not leave a single stone unturned when they have to nab a stone pelter, why have they turned so incompetent now,” a student told the protesting gathering.

The locals of Banpora Naikbagh in Nowgam area also staged protest against the braid chopping incidents. The women protesters took to streets and blocked the roads for several minutes amid chanting anti-government slogans.