The recent killing of an alleged braid chopper in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, ruthless beating of two women near Khanyar, two men at Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar, one youth at Delina, Baramulla and countless such incidents in past three weeks have created chaos across the valley. All these incidents followed after the first braid chopping incident in the valley was reported from Kokernag.
Now, the incidents of beating of the alleged braid choppers are gaining momentum and many of the accused persons, who later turned out to be innocent, had a narrow escape from getting lynched.
On one hand, authorities have termed braid chopping as mass hysteria and on the other, people are getting furious because of the rising incidents.
The reasons behind the possibilities of breakdown in law and order could be many but one can figure it out in two ways. One is that police and authorities have lost their trust among people and very less people do wait for fair trial by police. That is why after apprehending many alleged braid choppers, people were not ready to handover them to the police. They have accused police and other security forces of shielding the culprits.
The second reason is that the on-going conflict in J&K from more than two and a half decades has made people intolerant and vulnerable to such situations. According to a report published in a national newspaper, more the 15000 braid chopping incidents have taken place in India out of which more than 150 were reported in Jammu division only but negligible cases of protests or mob clashes were reported.
Contrary to this, the reaction towards braid chopping has turned ugly in Kashmir. Residents have started night vigil in their localities to nab braid choppers. In this extra vigilant scenario, many innocent people are getting caught and beaten to pulp.
The gravity of the situation is so high that women are scared of moving around and many have started to lock themselves up during daytime at their home. There are many consequences of this crime -both individual and collective. Individually, the victim can get traumatized and also given that hair for women is necessary and of aesthetic value, it can scar victims eternally. Collectively and socially, braid cutting has led to fear among women.
Despite the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s vow to nab the culprits as soon as possible and a huge amount of Rs 6 lakh kept as reward by police for any information regarding braid choppers, no positive result has come out so far. Besides, the fast-spreading rumours and the allegations against forces are vitiating the fragile atmosphere in the Valley. The situation must be brought under control, lest it blows into a la-2016 uprising.