Fresh Braid Cutting incidents spark Protests, Four soldiers face mob fury

  • Army men beaten in Kupwara, Kangan
  • City Centre, Pulwama observe shutdown
  • Government forms committees to help victims

Fresh braid cutting incidents on Tuesday led to protests, clashes and shutdown in several parts of Kashmir, even as four territorial army men were beaten up by locals in Kupwara and Kangan, reports and witnesses said.
Massive clashes erupted between protesters and government forces at Reddi Chowkibal and Kralpora areas of Kupwara district on Tuesday after braid of a woman was cut.
The incident occurred at around 8.30 a.m. “Someone sprayed some substance which left me unconscious,” said the victim.
The mother of the victim while showing braid of her daughter said she (the victim) was lying unconscious with her braid cut when she spotted her in the room.
“As infant baby of my daughter screamed I called her but she didn’t reply. I rushed to her room and found her lying in semi unconscious state with her braid cut,” said the mother of victim.
Soon after the incident locals caught hold of a territorial army man, accusing him to be the braid-chopper. The soldier was severely thrashed by the locals.
A video of the incident showed locals thrashing the soldier while army and police were trying to rescue him. The incident triggered massive protests in the area.
Later the protesters pelted the forces with stones following which forces personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them.
As the news of braid chopping incident spread to nearby Kralpora area, the locals staged a protest which led to the spontaneous shutdown in the area.
Reports from Dachna Salamabad Uri said that agitated people caught hold of two alleged braid choppers and thrashed them. Witnesses said that police rushed to the spot and rescued them from the wrath of agitated protesters.
Meanwhile, army spokesman in a statement said, “A mob had gathered to protest against some alleged braid-chopping incident. It stopped the last vehicle of an army convoy by parking a Sumo vehicle in front it when the convoy was passing through Chowkibal. When a soldier dismounted to get details of the issue, the mob surrounded him and started manhandling him despite a part of the crowd trying to stop the instigators and saying that the soldier had nothing to do with the incident. The troops exercised extreme caution and fired a few rounds in air to disperse the mob and retrieve the soldier. The vehicle rejoined the convoy. The soldier was sent for medical treatment and is now stable. The instigators have been identified and suitable action is being initiated against the culprits.”

TA men thrashed in Kangan, car set ablaze
Agitated people thrashed three army soldiers and set their vehicle on fire after checking their identity cards at Akhal Kangan in Ganderbal district, a witness said.
The witness said three territorial army personnel traveling in a private Santro car (JK01R-6187) were moving in a suspicious manner when a group of people stopped them and demanded their identity cards.
“As the identity cards revealed that they work for army, the agitated people accused them of being brad choppers and started thrashing them. They were beaten to pulp before an army party from nearby 24 RR camp arrived on the spot and fired some rounds in air to rescue them,” witnesses said.
The army action infuriated the agitated protesters who set the Santro car on fire.
As the news spread in Kangan town, shopkeepers downed their shutters while youth took to streets and pelted government forces with stones.
A police official wishing anonymity said, “Three territorial army personnel led by one Fareed Tenda of Wangat Kangan were on way to attend a marriage ceremony when people checked their identity cards and thrashed them.”
A fresh braid chopping incident was reported at Beehama in Ganderbal district late Monday evening. The area observed shutdown on Tuesday.

Maisuma area in the heart of Srinagar city and its adjoining areas observed shutdown on Tuesday while heavy presence of government forces was ensured there to maintain law and order. The movement of the people was restricted using concertina wires. Shops and other business establishments remained shut in Maisuma, Gawkadal, Basant Bagh, Kokar Bazar, Budshah Chowk while Auqaf market also remained shut.
Violent clashes between the youth and government forces had erupted in the area on Monday after braid of a woman was chopped off by unknown persons.
Protests erupted at Narparistan Fathekadal in old city over an overnight braid chopping incident.
A local said that the braid of a woman was chopped off during confrontation, the victim suffered fracture in the neck. “The victim’s niece was attacked a few days ago and her braid was also chopped off,” the locals added.
Large number of people took to streets at Botshah Mohalla Lal Bazar area where braid of a woman was chopped off on Monday evening. The protesters amid anti-police and anti-government slogans demanded the arrest of braid choppers.
Witnesses said police lobbed tear smoke shells to disperse protesters at Rambagh here. The locals took to streets and tried to disrupt traffic after a braid chopping incident. Police swung into action and resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the protesters.

In a fresh incident braid of a 40-year-old woman chopped off in Ashtengoo village of Bandipora on Tuesday evening.
Locals said, “Her braid was chopped off when she was returning home from paddy fields. Some unknown persons already present in the lawn of the house sprinkled some spray on her, making her unconscious and cut her braid.”

Pulwama district observed complete shutdown against the braid chopping incidents.
Auqaf Committee Pulwama organized a protest march that was attended by a large number of people.
Sources said that locals from Kakapora area of the district seized a vehicle with Punjab registration plate (PB10B-G3418) when a couple of persons from the vehicle alighted from it and tried to enter into a house. The locals raised hue and cry while unknown persons managed to escape from the spot, leaving the vehicle there.
Locals said that the abandoned vehicle was later handed over to police. “We are investigating the matter,” said a police official.
Police lobbed tear-smoke shelling to disperse protesters at Gangoo Pulwama who were protesting against fresh braid chopping incident in the village. The protesters blocked the road following which police resorted to tear-gas shelling.

Traders stage demos in Sopore, Bandipora
Members of Traders Federation Sopore staged a protest against growing braid chopping incidents in Sopore town. The president of the federation Haji Muhammad Ashraf Ganaie alleged that government has failed to stop the braid chopping incidents which has created fear psychosis across the Valley.

Driver labeled as braid chopper: Police
A police spokesman said that a tractor driver was labeled as braid-chopper by his owner in Kupwara district following which the driver was beaten to pulp by a mob.
“Jameel Ahmad Dar of Sarpara Rafiabad used to work as tractor driver with one Muhammad Sultan Lone of Kralgund. On Tuesday he went to owner’s house to get his salary of Rs 50,000 lying with the owner, but to his utter surprise, the owner first refused to pay him and then labeled him as braid chopper and created a scene in the village which attracted attention of other villagers who without any confirmation beat him to pulp, injuring him seriously.”
“The mischievous elements use braid chopping as a tool in their personal disputes thus creating chaos. FIR has been registered in this regard,” the police said.

Teams formed to report facts, provide assistance to victims:
Deputy commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rashid Shah today said tehsil-level teams would be constituted to provide medical assistance and counseling to the victims of braid cutting.
District magistrate Shopian Muhammad Aijaz today constituted a district-level committee which would maintain strict vigil and counsel braid chopping victims, an official spokesman said.

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