SRINAGAR: After over 200 incidents of braid chopping incidents were reported from Jammu and Kashmir, fear psychosis and anxiety has gripped the womenfolk.
The State government has formed Special Investigation Teams of police to probe the braid chopping incidents but there has been no breakthrough yet.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the braid chopping incidents were first reported in Jammu region. The braid chopping incidents were reported in Rajouri, Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Reasi, Udhampur and Doda of Jammu province. The victims alleged that their braids were cut by unknown persons after spraying some chemicals.
At least 192 braid cutting incidents, according to police, were reported from Jammu region in a month or so.
In Kashmir, the first braid cutting incident was reported in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district earlier this month.
In less than a month, about 50 braid cutting incidents have taken place in Valley including in summer capital Srinagar. Majority of the cases have taken place in south Kashmir comprising four districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian. The region was epicentre of last year’s unrest after killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
The braid cutting incidents have also taken place in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal and Budgam districts and Bandipora and Baramulla in north Kashmir.
At least six braid chopping incidents were reported in Valley today. Three of the incidents took place in north Kashmir, two in south Kashmir and one in Srinagar.
Fear has gripped the women after the braid chopping incidents in the State. Both the working women and housewives are worried about their safety.
“We are witnessing unusual fear. We are not safe in our homes and not outside as braid cutting incidents have taken place in houses and in open also,” said a working woman, Zahida.
She said after the braid cutting incidents, the women are afraid to move out alone.
Zahida said it is strange that not a single braid chopper has been arrested in Jammu and Kashmir, where over 200 braid cutting incidents have taken place.
At some places, women now move out with small sticks as a “safety measure”.
People at many places in Valley including parts of Srinagar have staged protests to demand action against the braid choppers. At some places, people thrashed suspected braid choppers, who later turned out to be innocents.
On directions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, J&K police has formed a Special Investigation Teams (SITs) to probe the incidents. However, there has been no breakthrough yet.
Police has announced a bounty of Rs lakh for information about those involved in braid chopping incidents and also set up helpline so that people could inform and seek assistance with regard to any braid cutting incident.
Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid told New Indian Express that police is probing the braid cutting incidents.
“We have not reached any breakthrough. We have not made any arrests. We investigated some people but they had no links with braid cutting incidents,” he said.
Vaid said that an alleged braid chopper caught by people in Baramulla was “in love with the girl”. “He had love affair with the girl”.
“Similarly, in Bemina area of Srinagar, people caught two suspected braid cutters on Wednesday but let them go. We arrested the duo and they turned out to be militants. They were from Tangdhar and supplying weapons,” he said.
The DGP said in some cases it has been found that the girl was confronting depression.
“People will have to cooperate with the police so that we can investigate it properly,” he said.
The State police chief revealed that they had also contacted police officials of Haryana and Punjab, where the braid chopping incidents had also taken place.
“They said they did not find any gang behind such incidents,” he said.
The traders staged protest in Srinagar today and warned that Kashmir would witness 2016-like unrest again if government fails to investigate braid chopping incidents.
The separatist leaders have said braid chopping is an attack on dignity.
“It is being used as a war weapon against women folk,” they said.
They have called for protests after Friday prayers against the braid chopping incidents.
Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo has termed the braid chopping as “ploy by Indian agencies to track the movement of militants”.