Braid chopper ghost in Kashmir

Shafqat Bukhari

After over one hundred braid chopping incidents the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti herself holding the portfolio of home department has broke her silence with the remark that her government won’t take rest till the culprits are brought to book but the same is not satisfying keeping in view the increasing scare caused by the unprecedented rise in the braid chopping incidents across the length and breadth of Kashmir valley.

What surprises people is the spread of bread chopping incidents in mulsim majority Kashmir valley only and interestingly the braid chopping incidents were first reported from some parts of muslim dominated Pir Panchal area of Jammu region and later spread from Qazigund to other parts of valley from South to North and situation is no more different in parts of central Kashmir including Srinagar city, the summer capital of the state.

The increasing braid chopping incidents have scared people in Kashmir so much that they don’t move out of homes during evening hours for being suspected as braid choppers. Even though, the J&K Police has constituted Special Investigation Teams (SITs) in all the districts of Kashmir valley to probe these incidents and also announced a reward of Rs 6 lakh to anybody who can give leads on the movements of the braid choppers, but so far the police are clueless. Surprisingly the Director General Police Dr S. P Vaid is asking people to provide evidences on the movement of braid choppers but people counter the police chief’s public advisory with the contention that if policing has been taking the cue from its own credible sources in apprehending and killing militants in right places and right time , then why police fails to do so in curbing the menace of braid chopping in Kashmir valley and why braid chopping incidents are not spreading to parts of Jammu region.

Given the fact the braid choppers are confining their activities to Kashmir the police should find it easy to lay hands on braid choppers in land locked parts of Kashmir valley.

As none has been nabbed by police during the last one month, people out of fear are guarding their respective areas during night. People fear to come out especially during night hours.  The scare has increased so much that people apprehensive of being mistaken as braid choppers in other areas don’t tend to go to relatives’ houses these days. The catching of innocents and then thrashing them is deepening the crisis week after week and day after day.

If people see any stranger in any area, they catch him and then thrash him. People in Kashmir are saddened to see youth fighting each other and suspecting each other. At some places, locals have caught innocent people suspecting them of being the culprits.

A 70-year-old man was mistaken as a braid chopper and hit by a brick which led to his death in Danter village of Anantnag district and in a similar fashion two youth were recently thrashed at Ishbar Nishat in the outskirts of Srinagar city. Police has registered case against miscreants involved in spreading a false rumour on social media regarding the capture of “so-called braid choppers” in Nishat area of Srinagar. Several videos have gone viral where people are seen thrashing some locals as well as non-locals suspected to be braid choppers. With Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti saying that culprits won’t be allowed to roam around freely and continue the increasing scare in Kashmir the people would like to see police doing much on the feedbacks of its own sources than relying on inputs from the general public expected by it after announcing cash rewards of Rs 6 lakhs to those daring to provide leads on the movement of braid choppers in their localities.

(The author of this cover story is Editor In Chief of English Daly “The Kashmir Horizon”)

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