Farzana Mumtaz/ Rameez Makhdoomi
The series of continuous braid chopping incidents in different areas of the Kashmir valley have given rise to panic and fear. According to Wikipedia, Mysterious hair chopping incidents and rumours of Indian females have erupted in India and Nepal from late June 2017 onwards when a news channel reported on June 23 that a female from Bikaner, Rajasthan was chopped her hair by a suspect witch when she was sleeping in night, but only one such incident was reported in the entire state at that time. After the incident, many villagers were keeping a strong eye on the woman’s house but later no evidence of a witch or any other supernatural creature was found. As this incident went viral to almost every part of India, especially in the northern states like Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhandand Uttar Pradesh.
The Kashmir Valley reported its first braid chopping in September, about a month after Jammu had reported several similar incidents. In all, according to the police, 35 cases of braid chopping have been reported from Kashmir so far and 192 from Jammu division.
Different reasons are being attributed to it and aptly described by the sane voices . Doctor Yasir Wani on Social Networking Website Facebook wrote :
“Braid chopping :
1) Some doctors opine it is hysterical conversion reaction which is a functional disorder more common in adolescent girls than boys and adults.
2) Some people blame the agencies
3) Some people blame the local criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion and chaos.
4) others are of the opinion that braid choppers are a reality as an organisation with a purpose to cause fear psychosis among already anxious kashmiris.
I think all above opinions are partly right. The reality might lie in the mix of all the above opinions..!!
P:S : Rumours on the social media add fuel to the fire..!!”
In addition to the fear psychosis, the politics has also heated on the issue of braid Chopping in Kashmir and with it public anger is also growing. On October 2, Riyaz Naikoo, field operational commander of the militant group Hizbul Mujahedeen, released an audio statement saying the chopping of women’s braids was aimed at “weakening” the separatist movement.
On its part the Jammu and Kashmir Police stated recently that it doubled the bounty to Rs 6 lakhs for providing any information about the mysterious braid chopping incidents that has gripped the Valley.
“Incidents of mysterious braid cutting occurred in south and central Kashmir. Police announced reward upto Rs 6 lakh for info on people behind incidents,” said SP Vaid, DIG Police, Kashmir.
“ We hope the evil forces behind the ugly incidents of braid chopping would soon be identified and arrested so that the fear created by them is defeated .Currently these braid chopping incidents have given rise to panic and unease, stated Sameena, a house wife.
Undoubtedly, braid chopping has given rise to atmosphere of chaos and fear in Kashmir.