Kashmir is in a grip of panic over the unstoppable incidents of braid chopping in its length and breadth. Every day there are reports surfacing from different parts of the valley about massive protests over braid chopping incidents. However, the police is unfazed and no arrests have been made to stop this mysterious trend of cutting braids of women.
In fact, one person was killed by the frenzied mob in the city outskirts after people mistook him to be a braid chopper. At many places, both men and women were beaten to pulp by the agitating people on the mere suspicion of being braid choppers.
Later they were set free by the police after investigating their credentials. So far 100 cases of braid cutting have been reported to police. Five foreign tourists had a narrow escape few weeks back when they were travelling to the valley from Leh and lost the way and entered into old city areas.
The timely intervention of some locals and police saved them from the wrath of mob. After this incident another similar incident took place in Ganderbal district when an unruly mob caught hold of two persons accusing them of hair cutting. The duo victims were turned later the guests of one local person. Before they were identified, the victims were beaten to the pulp.
However, as the police is not ready to subscribe the theory of braid cutting in the backdrop of hue and cry recently, the police had decided to carry out lie detecting tests of the victims in order to expose the truth behind the mysterious braid chopping incidents.
The police termed it as a mass hysteria. Nevertheless, the Kashmiri society is on the crossroads of such incidents and witnessing spontaneous protests in its backdrop. Panic has overtaken everything and has adversely restricted the liberty of women folk of venturing out of their homes.
The schools and universities have been shut by the state government after the separatists called protests over such incidents. The separatists blame the central government and its security and intelligence agencies of bringing fear to the local populace to deviate them from the main issues.
From the academic point of view, this is a crucial time and will have a serious bearing upon student’s career. The students have already borne the brunt of the uncertainty during the past two years and their academic degrees have got prolonged unnecessarily.
Anyways, such incidents don’t warrant any blame game or securing of political interests, instead, it demands the collective approach at the societal level. This criminal ideology needs to be countered and defeated at all possible fronts collectively.
The three decades of violence and the subsequent behavioural changes among the masses and particularly the youth have outcast them from the basic rules of life. The graph of crime is increasing in the society and prior to this wave of braid chopping, many incidents of eve teasing, violence and other related crimes against women were reported.
The blame game and the subsequent publicity to such ugly events is only strengthening the nefarious designs of braid choppers. However, the people must also discourage the rumour mongers and anti social elements who hold innocents guilty of committing the act.
According to police, in majority of these incidents, all those who were thrashed by the people were proven innocents. Such mistakes may have dangerous consequences and can fuel the civil unrest in the valley which is already witnessing a fragile peace situation after the massive uprising over the death of militant commander, Burhan Wani in 2016.
The civil society should also come forward and propagate the awareness since not only the social sector but also the economy of the valley is crumbling, following the 2016 civil unrest. Offering any space to rumour mongering and not dwelling deep to understand the root cause of the problem and subsequent solution can jeopardize the fragile peace and economy of the state.