With over 100 cases of braid chopping reported across the Kashmir valley in the past month, the only visible progress the police have made so far in solving the “mystery” seems to be the “arrest of rumour-mongers.”
On Wednesday as unknown persons chopped off the braid of yet another woman in Srinagar, police issued a statement that it had arrested three people on charges of spreading rumours, including the death of a girl in a braid chopping attack yesterday, in various parts of the city.
Those arrested included a man who police said was “traced and arrested” apparently within hours of spreading a rumour about the death of a girl in yesterday’s braid-chopping incident in Habbakadal area of the city.
“Most of the people panicked and a sense of insecurity prevailed all over. People got emotional and started pelting stones at security forces establishments and vehicles,” a police spokesman said.
He said the police investigated the rumour and found it as “baseless”.
“It was planned to generate the potential for civil unrest,” the spokesman said.
In another case, the police arrested two people in connection with rumour-mongering that led to the beating up of a group of rag-pickers in Lasjan area of the city on October 9.
“During the investigation, two rumour mongers — Tawseef Ahmad Dar and Mir Musadiq — have been arrested and further investigation in the case is underway,” the spokesman said.
Police, however, did not issue any statement regarding today’s braid chopping incident in the city’s Baba Demb area.
Locals who took to streets against the incident questioned the police’s “failure” to solve the braid chopping cases.
“This is the second attack by braid choppers in our area in two days. On Tuesday, a woman’s braid was chopped in broad daylight in the nearby Karfalli Mohalla area. What is the police doing?” asked a neighbor of the alleged braid chopping victim from Baba Demb.
“They are quick to arrest people on charges of rumour mongering but have no idea who is behind these braid chopping incidents for a month now,” another local resident said.
Note: The story has been updated after the number of braid chopping incidents in Kashmir was revealed to be over 100 by inspector general of police, Muneer Khan, to a local English daily)