Srinagar cops now take on rumour-mongers
Strife-torn Kashmir has descended into chaos as rumour-mongers and vigilante mobs are using the braid-chopping incident to instil fear and fan anti-India protests across the Valley.
Nearly 100 braid-chopping cases have been reported from Kashmir but none of the accused have been arrested. Almost all incidents remain shrouded in mystery with police complaining of non-cooperation from victims and their families. Police have announced a cash reward of Rs 6 lakh for any information leading to the “mysterious braid-chopper”.
The hysteria has already claimed its first casualty when an elderly man, Abdul Salam Wani, was killed after being mistaken as one of the accused in Anantnag. People have formed vigilante groups armed with lathis, rods and swords to patrol streets and “keep braid-choppers at bay”.
From tourists to lovers to migrant labourers to ragpickers and transgenders, anyone walking or posing differently can invite the wrath of these vigilante groups. Six foreign tourists, including two women, were hauled up after being mistaken as braid-choppers when they lost their way in the old city after arriving from Ladakh. The tourists were later rescued by police. Two Indian tourists were thrashed. Even a transgender was beaten up because he was cross-dressed.
Women protest against incidents of braid-chopping in Srinagar