On the intervening night of October 9 and 10, Pampore residents brutally assaulted a mentally challenged person after branding him a braid chopper. The 30-year-old from Budgam was among three people assaulted by a mob before being handed over to the police.
Till date Jammu and reported 180 such cases while in Kashmir it has been 40. Not a single person has been arrested so far. In fact on Wednesday two rumour mongers were arrested from the Nowgam area of Srinagar. All those who have been taken up to the police on the ground they were suspects have been released in no time as they were all cases of mistaken identity.
This issue has taken the Valley by storm. The Hurriyat has protested, women have accused J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti of not doing enough to protect women. Appeals have been made from various quarters not to fall prey to such rumours, but they have all fallen on deaf ears.
Looking at these cases that have been reported from J&K, it is clear that it is a pattern that followed from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. There was a hue and cry there too, but not a single person was arrested.
The police who have probed those who have complained about their braids being chopped have not got any leads. None of the so-called victims have been able to provide any clue on the alleged attacker.
A personal desire for short hair:
Most of the alleged victims are either young girls or those in their mid 20s. Most of them have said that the attack took place when they were alone at home. Others said that they had found their hair chopped off when they woke up from their sleep.
Case studies done both in Kashmir and Rajasthan have revealed that the issue is more psychological. Normally in many families sporting short hair is frowned upon. In many cases it has been found that the lady herself has chopped off her braids as there is a personal desire to sport short hair.
In other cases it has been found that the braid has been chopped off due to personal enmity. These are issues that need to be dealt with psychologically. Family members who have complained of such instances should ideally take the victim to the doctor and find out what the exact problem is. However in all cases, the victims and their families have landed in the police station with no proper explanation.
It gets bad in Kashmir:
Unlike the states of Haryana and Rajasthan, in Kashmir the problem only got worse. The Hurriyat was quick to pick up this issue and blame the Intelligence Bureau for it. They say that this is a well thought out ploy by the Indian agencies to divert attention from the freedom movement.
This issue has brought the entire state to a standstill. While there is no culprit, people are getting beaten up thanks to rumours. The panic is high and women are being advised not to venture out on their own.