Braid chopping pushes J&K into political crisis
Despite forming Special Investigation Teams to probe the incidents, not a single case has been solved so far
THE braid chopping incidents have the potential to turn into a major political crisis in Kashmir as separatist and opposition leaders upped the ante accusing the PDP-BP coalition government of doing nothing against it.
In less than a month, about 100 braid cutting incidents have been reported from across the Valley.
The first braid chopping incident in the Valley was reported from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district in early October. It quickly spread to central and north Kashmir. Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, is far from unaffected. Most neighbourhoods in the city have reported braid cutting incidents.
The braid cutters, according to the victims, spray certain chemicals on the faces of their victims before cutting their braids. In some instances, the braid cutters have also reportedly snatched gold ornaments of the victims.
However, despite protests and even formation of vigilante groups, there has been no letup in such incidents.
There have also been incidents when people caught and beat suspected braid choppers, who later turned out to be innocent.
In one such incident last week, a 70-year-old man died of grievous injuries when he was mistaken as a braid chopper and attacked with a brick by his nephew in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik blamed security forces and government for braid-chopping incidents.
Terming it an attack on the dignity of the women, they have begun protests against the braid chopping incidents. On their call, Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on October 9.
The educational institutions in the Valley remained closed Thursday in view of the student protests called by separatists against braid chopping. The separatists have called for further protests after Friday prayers.
Police have formed Special Investigation Teams (SITs) to probe the incidents. However, not a single case has been solved nor any arrests made.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Muneer Ahmad Khan, told New Indian Express that no victim has come forward to help the investigation agency and none have deposed before police informing what happened. He added that 100 incidents of braid chopping have been reported in the Valley so far and 100 cases have been registered by the police.
The IGP said police has now directed hospitals to maintain a proper record of the victims and take their blood samples to know what kind of chemicals were sprayed.
With the police unable to achieve any breakthrough, the J&K High Court stepped in and directed the government to submit a list of braid chopping cases and FIRs registered by the police so far by Friday.
If government doesn’t do anything soon to stop these incidents, there is a likelihood that it can turn into a major political crisis and become another headache for the embattled Mufti government Aadil Ahmad, political analyst
Women protesters holding axe and bat, raise slogans during a protest against growing number of incidents of braid chopping in the Kashmir Valley, at Hazratbal near Srinagar on Thursday |