Residents Protest Spike in ‘Braid Chopping’ Episodes in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir has reported over 200 incidents of ‘braid chopping’ in the last two months.

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After causing panic in Delhi and other regions, the ‘braid chopping’ phenomenon now appears to have taken over Kashmir.

Panic has erupted in the Valley after three cases of ‘braid chopping’ were reported on 4 October alone – taking the tally of total incidents in Kashmir to over 60 in just a month.

On 4 October, three cases were reported from various parts of Srinagar, Nowgam, and Khanyar. A foiled attempt was reported from Bemina, where two accused managed to flee despite being nabbed by locals earlier.

The incident in Khanyar is the first of its kind to be reported from downtown Srinagar. The Valley reported its first ‘braid chopping’ incident in September, about a month after several ‘braid chopping’ incidents were reported in Jammu.

Also Read: 60-Day Ban on Outsiders in Jammu’s Doda Over Braid-Cutting Scare

It started with South Kashmir, where 20 cases of ‘braid chopping’ have been registered so far.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police say more than 60 cases of ‘braid chopping’ have been reported from the Valley so far, and over 200 cases across Jammu and Kashmir.

IGP Kashmir, Munir Khan, told The Quint: “We are looking at some cases which were reported from UP. We are examining whether they may have any link with these. We are exploring all possible angles in such cases. We will arrest the accused soon”.

“I Begged Them Not To Cut My Hair”

Twenty-five-year-old Nazima says was caught off guard when two men entered her house, near Central University of Kashmir, and accosted her in the kitchen on 4 October.

She says she was scared and that asked them not to spray her with a substance that they were allegedly carrying. “There were two of them wearing black masks. One remained guard at the door. The other one did what he had to do. I begged them not to use the spray but they did not listen and went ahead,” Nazima says.

Nazima says the two men spoke Punjabi and Hindi. As news of the incident spread, residents took to the streets to protest the incident.

That day, another such incident was reported from Khanyar area of downtown Srinagar. Sources said that 30-year-old Muzamil was sitting at home when two people climbed the wall, entered her house and sprayed something on her face. Sources said she then became unconscious, only to wake up to see her braid chopped off and the miscreants missing.

"I was alone at home when a masked man climbed our wall and started to spray something on my face. I fell unconscious and I don't know what happened after," she said.

Protests Over ‘Braid Chopping’ Incidents

Several women in the Valley say the rise in these braid chopping incidents have instilled fear in them. They say they are afraid to go the fields and are even afraid to move inside their own houses.

“When we are not safe at home where should we go?” one woman asked. The mysterious braid chopping incidents have sparked protests at several places in the past few days, with people taking to streets amid anti-administrative slogans, demanding immediate arrest of involved culprits.

According to police reports, in more than 90 percent cases, the victim was caught alone in their houses or paddy fields. “How do these braid choppers know that these woman are home alone?” asked Peer Abdul Sattar, a relative of Muzamil.

In the wake of the spike in the incidents, the J&K police on 1 October, doubled the cash reward to Rs 6 lakh for credible information to nab people behind braid incidents.

Video Producer: Srishti Tyagi

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

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