Braid Cutting Mystery at Srinagar Doorstep

Srinagar— Residents took to streets in the city outskirts Saturday after three masked men allegedly tried to chop off braid of an elderly woman in Nowgam area. The incidents which have been happening with greater frequency across South Kashmir, the hub of recent unrest, has sparked widespread anger and fear.

Witnesses said that an elderly woman at Bongam Nowgam claimed that three masked men tried to enter into her house. However, she sounded alarm forcing the criminals to flee from the spot. The women of the locality soon came out of their homes and picketed at the square. As the word spread more people rushed to the spot. Meanwhile word spread that one of the criminals has been captured by the police.

However a police official denied the reports that they have arrested any culprit. The official even denied that any braid cutting attempt was made in Nowgam area.

Meanwhile the fresh braid cutting incident in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district sparked a massive protest in the adjoining district of Anantnag on Saturday.

Reports said that there is no let up in these incidents even though village level alert committees have been formed to nab the culprits.

Eyewitnesses said that unidentified criminals appeared in Nihama village of Kulgam district and chopped the braid of mother of three children. The incident sent shock waves among locals. The victim was shifted to Public Health Centre Nihama for treatment.

Reports said that as the news spread in the adjoining district, scores of people hit to roads at Lal Chowk Anantang and clashed with police, who retaliated with tear-smoke shells. The clashes soon spread to other areas of the town including Achabal Adda and old town localities of Reeshi Bazar.

Dozens of braid chopping incidents have been reported in twin districts of Anantang and Kulgam while police is still clueless though it has announced a reward of Rs 3 lakhs to those who provide credible information about the culprits.

Fresh braid chopping incident was also reported from Kakawring village of Charar-e-Sharif here in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Police identified the victim as Nusrat Bano wife of Bilal Ahmed Thokar. “We have registered a case vide FIR number 93/2017 under section 451, 328, 354 RPC and investigation has been started to nab the culprits,” the official said.

Reports said that the braid of woman identified as Asmat Jan was also chopped off at Chrarlipora Padshahi Bagah.

Meanwhile, police reportedly arrested two non locals for questioning after braid chopping rumours in Hadipora, Rafiabad area of north Kashmir, police sources said.

Pertinently, Police have formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter. So far the police and the authorities have been clueless.

On Friday Jammu and Kashmir Police announced a reward of Rs 3 lakh for credible information to nab people behind braid chopping incidents.

A helpline has also been established so that “people could inform and seek assistance with regard to any braid cutting incident.

Braid-cutting incidents were reported from various north Indian states before reaching Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, last month according to police 60 incidents of cutting of braids were reported from Rehari, Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Rajouri, Reasi, Doda and Udhampur districts of Jammu region triggering panic among the people there.



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