Braid Chopping

Excuses won’t help, need a way out

Javaid Malik
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 20 2017 10:29PM | Updated Date: Oct 20 2017 10:29PM
Braid ChoppingFile Photo

Braid chopping in Kashmir has become a mystery. Jammu and Kashmir Police have made it clear that they have not got any evidence till date and they are still looking for clues. 

The statements of the police officials from top to bottom are on the same line that they are not finding any proof to nail the culprits.

They are claiming that statements of the victims are vague and the “spray theory” sounds strange. Even a few doctors have vindicated the statements of police saying that they (doctors) have not seen such a spray which can make a person unconscious within two minutes.

On the other hand people are not ready to buy the police version and have accused it of shielding the culprits. One fails to understand that if one goes by the police version then there are no braid cutters active anywhere and it’s just a case of “mass hysteria.”

If there are no braid cutters active in Kashmir then who is chopping the braids of the women? Is it that law enforcing agencies want to say that more than 100 incidents which have been reported till date are just “concocted stories?”   

Braid cutting episodes have added to the prevailing insecurity. People are feeling insecure even within the four walls of their homes. The suspects, who are caught by people, turn out to be “innocent,” according to police.

Since the day braid chopping incidents have come to fore police have issued numerous statements about innocents presumed as braid choppers being beaten by the people. On the other hand law enforcing agencies have acted tough against a few youth by arresting them on the charges of spreading rumours and inciting violence. 

As soon as the word about any braid chopping incident spreads in any area youth take to streets and fight pitched battles with the forces personnel deployed there. It’s all happening in Kashmir. Protests, shutdowns, stone-pelting and arrests but the real culprits i.e. braid choppers appear and disappear in thin air.

Amidst confusion opposition parties, including National Conference and Congress, are leaving no stone unturned to corner the government. Even the separatists have upped the ante. Kashmir’s joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik have threatened full-fledged agitation if the braid chopping doesn’t stop. Slowly but surely braid chopping is snowballing into  major controversy. It should be a matter of concern for the state government. In Kashmir any small issue can become big and can shake the foundations of any regime.         

The 2017 summer passed off without any major shutdowns or stone-pelting incidents and the present regime has been complementing itself for summer in Kashmir passing off “peacefully.” Although militancy related incidents increased manifolds and number of tourists visiting Kashmir witnessed a steep decline but still Kashmir remained calm.      

Since the day braid chopping incidents have come to fore the business as witnessed a slump as people are not coming out of their homes in the evenings. The shopkeepers have lost the peak shopping hours and they are raising hue and cry about it. 

Some people are of the opinion that a conspiracy has been hatched to ruin the economy of Kashmir. The tourism industry has already taken a hit now small businesses too are taking a hit and are witnessing a sharp decline. Kashmir is being pushed towards stone-age. Is it a ploy to break the backbone of Kashmir’s economy?      

If the braid cutting incidents don’t stop it can have far reaching consequences. These attacks are a direct assault on the honour and dignity of our daughters, sisters and mothers. No one can tolerate it.     

The Jammu and Kashmir government should realize that it cannot act as a mute spectator and wait for these incidents to get over on their own. If miscreants are doing it they should be identified and booked. Just playing politics over this burning issue won’t help anyone’s cause.

People at the helm cannot hide behind the excuses by claiming that Kashmir is not the only place where it’s happening. Many people at the helm are claiming that  braid cutting phenomenon was witnessed in other states too and Kashmir is no exception. These people should realize that Kashmir is a sensitive place and has to be handled with care.  

It’s strange that braid cutting is happening in Kashmir, one of the heaviest militarized region in the country. Braid choppers are roaming freely despite government forces keeping an eagle’s eye even over the movement of civilians. How come these vigilant forces personnel have not spotted braid cutters so far?

In Srinagar city only police have placed scores of CCTV cameras in the sensitive areas to track the protesters. If these cameras can catch the protesters then why haven’t these cameras captured the movement of braid cutters till date?

The J&K government has to put all its resources at place to solve this mystery. If it can seek army’s help to control the law and order situation why can’t it do so to catch the braid cutters who are posing a threat to peace? There are many questions which people at the top level have to answer. If they fail to solve this mystery it would prove that “elected representatives” who claim to represent people are not interested in solving the problems of the masses. They are busy enjoying power and have got nothing to do with what people are facing. 

(Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir)