Hair-chopping mystery

Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 22 2017 10:51PM | Updated Date: Oct 22 2017 10:51PM

In one week, Kashmir has observed two shutdowns over braid-cutting. But the weird phenomenon shows no signs of abating. Everyday women report their hair having been cut by the mysterious intruders into their houses which in turn has triggered protests. Fear rules the streets.  People can’t make sense of what is happening. The reports of the alleged assaults on women has been a source of widespread anger among people. And with Government failing to offer any credible explanation for the phenomenon or build some confidence, sections of people have taken a recourse to vigilante justice.  Scores of people have been held on suspicion of being braid cutters and thrashed, in some cases fatally so. In Sopore, a mentally challenged man mistaken as a braid chopper was ruthlessly beaten by a mob  which also attempted to set him on fire. Similarly, a man who had come to offer Fajr prayers at Hazratbal shrine was brutally beaten. The mob also tried to drown him in Dal Lake. Over 130 incidents of braid chopping have been reported in the Valley over the past three weeks. The incidents like these only reveal the paranoia that prevails in Valley. The mysterious phenomenon travelled to J&K from parts of North India. But in the Valley it has wrought havoc. Though the government has set up special teams to investigate the phenomenon, nothing is so far credibly known that could help people deal with the situation. If anything, state government has only confounded the confusion by issuing conflicting statements which have simultaneously dubbed the phenomenon as real and imaginary. Award has been announced for the capture of the perpetrators and at the same time security forces have blamed mass hysteria for the braid cuttings. This has only deepened the suspicions and the mystery. Such an environment is hardly conducive to the improvement of the situation. Need is for the government to get its act right. Only thing that can get us out of the current crisis is if people know what is happening and why. And they are looking towards the government for the answers.

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