Braid​ ​Chopping​ ​in​ ​Kashmir:​ ​A​ ​tool​ ​for​ ​the​ ​enemy​ ​to​ ​create​ ​divide​ ​between​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​and​ ​people

23 Oct 2017 15:49:02

  


Jaibans Singh

The​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​phenomenon​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Kashmir​ ​valley​ ​has​ ​attained​ ​a​ ​critical​ ​dimension.​ ​With​ ​more​ ​than 150​ ​incidents​ ​having​ ​taken​ ​place​ ​in​ ​the​ ​last​ ​month​ ​(from​ ​September​ ​14​ ​onwards)​ ​there​ ​is​ ​panic​ ​among​ ​the people​ ​there. 

The​ ​tension​ ​has​ ​been​ ​heightened​ ​by​ ​the​ ​irrational​ ​violent​ ​reaction​ ​of​ ​vigilante​ ​groups​ ​who​ ​have​ ​attempted to​ ​brutally​ ​kill​ ​two​ ​innocent​ ​youth​ ​in​ ​the​ ​last​ ​few​ ​days​ ​on​ ​suspicion​ ​of​ ​their​ ​being​ ​braid​ ​choppers.​ ​One​ ​of the​ ​victims​ ​was​ ​mentally​ ​challenged,​ ​and​ ​yet,​ ​the​ ​mob​ ​attempted​ ​to​ ​burn​ ​him​ ​alive.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​only​ ​the​ ​timely intervention​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Police​ ​that​ ​saved​ ​the​ ​boys. 

Earlier,​ ​a​ ​mob​ ​thrashed​ ​an​ ​army​ ​soldier​ ​on​ ​a​ ​similar​ ​suspicion​ ​of​ ​being​ ​a​ ​braid​ ​chopper.​ ​The​ ​Army​ ​personnel were​ ​forced​ ​to​ ​fire​ ​at​ ​the​ ​crowd​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​control​ ​the​ ​escalating​ ​mob​ ​violence;​ ​fortunately​ ​there​ ​were​ ​no fatal​ ​casualties​ ​even​ ​as​ ​two​ ​civilians​ ​sustained​ ​injuries. 

Why​ ​on​ ​earth​ ​would​ ​an​ ​army​ ​man​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​personnel​ ​go​ ​about​ ​chopping​ ​braids​ ​of women​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Valley​ ​or​ ​anywhere​ ​else​ ​for​ ​that​ ​matter?​ ​At​ ​this​ ​point​ ​in​ ​time​ ​when​ ​terrorists​ ​are​ ​on​ ​the​ ​back foot​ ​due​ ​to​ ​relentless​ ​counter​ ​terrorist​ ​operations​ ​by​ ​security​ ​forces,​ ​alienation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​common​ ​people​ ​is the​ ​last​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​the​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​would​ ​want.​ ​They​ ​would​ ​not​ ​do​ ​the​ ​smallest​ ​thing​ ​to​ ​upset​ ​the​ ​apple cart,​ ​let​ ​alone​ ​go​ ​about​ ​chopping​ ​the​ ​braids​ ​of​ ​ladies. 

Senior​ ​officers​ ​of​ ​the​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​have​ ​already​ ​admitted​ ​that​ ​the​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​incidents​ ​have negatively​ ​impacted​ ​the​ ​pace​ ​and​ ​momentum​ ​of​ ​the​ ​counter-terrorist​ ​operations,​ ​something​ ​that​ ​is​ ​totally undesirable​ ​so​ ​far​ ​as​ ​the​ ​thrust​ ​to​ ​usher​ ​lasting​ ​peace​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Kashmir​ ​Valley​ ​is​ ​concerned.​ .​ "It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​huge disadvantage​ ​for​ ​us.​ ​Our​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​manpower​ ​are​ ​now​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​handling​ ​these​ ​cases,"​ ​said Kashmir's​ ​Inspector​ ​General​ ​of​ ​Police​ ​Munir​ ​Ahmad​ ​Khan​ ​while​ ​speaking​ ​on​ ​the​ ​subject.

There​ ​are​ ​many​ ​in​ ​Kashmir​ ​who​ ​would​ ​love​ ​to​ ​exploit​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​incidents​ ​to​ ​alienate​ ​the​ ​masses​ ​from the​ ​security​ ​forces.​ ​Planting​ ​of​ ​rumours​ ​about​ ​the​ ​involvement​ ​of​ ​army​ ​and​ ​other​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​personnel is​ ​definitely​ ​a​ ​possibility. 

Earlier,​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​caused​ ​a​ ​crisis​ ​in​ ​Delhi​ ​and​ ​Haryana.​ ​Strangely,​ ​the​ ​incidents​ ​over​ ​there​ ​ceased​ ​as abruptly​ ​as​ ​they​ ​surfaced​ ​only​ ​to​ ​remerge​ ​in​ ​Jammu​ ​and​ ​Kashmir,​ ​especially​ ​Kashmir.​ ​This​ ​also​ ​gives​ ​an impression​ ​that​ ​the​ ​fear​ ​that​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​caused​ ​in​ ​Delhi/Haryana​ ​could​ ​have​ ​given​ ​an​ ​idea​ ​to​ ​evil foreign​ ​forces​ ​to​ ​replicate​ ​the​ ​same​ ​in​ ​Kashmir​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​turmoil​ ​over​ ​there. 

Always​ ​known​ ​to​ ​be​ ​emotionally​ ​charged​ ​the​ ​Kashmiris’​ ​are​ ​reacting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​problem​ ​in​ ​their​ ​typically hyper-sensitive​ ​manner;​ ​accusations​ ​are​ ​flying​ ​all​ ​over​ ​with​ ​the​ ​government​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Police​ ​coming​ ​under fire​ ​by​ ​one​ ​and​ ​all,​ ​processions​ ​are​ ​being​ ​taken​ ​out​ ​with​ ​ladies​ ​in​ ​the​ ​forefront​ ​and​ ​now​ ​we​ ​have​ ​the vigilantes​ ​attempting​ ​to​ ​taking​ ​law​ ​in​ ​their​ ​own​ ​hands. 

Vigilantes​ ​emerged​ ​in​ ​Delhi​ ​and​ ​Haryana​ ​too​ ​but​ ​the​ ​reaction​ ​did​ ​not​ ​take​ ​a​ ​violent​ ​turn​ ​as​ ​is​ ​being​ ​seen​ ​in Kashmir.​ ​Hyper-sensitivity,​ ​latent​ ​mistrust​ ​in​ ​the​ ​government​ ​and​ ​proclivity​ ​to​ ​take​ ​law​ ​into​ ​own​ ​hands​ ​are major​ ​causes​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​incidents​ ​not​ ​dying​ ​down. 

The​ ​separatists​ ​and​ ​anti-national​ ​elements,​ ​who​ ​never​ ​leave​ ​any​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​cause​ ​instability​ ​in​ ​the valley,​ ​are​ ​naturally​ ​very​ ​busy​ ​stoking​ ​fires​ ​over​ ​the​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​incidents.​ ​While​ ​calling​ ​for​ ​protests​ ​and lock​ ​outs​ ​they​ ​have​ ​no​ ​compunction​ ​in​ ​blaming​ ​the​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​for​ ​the​ ​attacks. 

Nahida​ ​Nasreen,​ ​general​ ​secretary​ ​and​ ​spokesperson​ ​of​ ​the​ ​all​ ​woman​ ​radical​ ​organisation

Dukhtaran-e-Millat​ ​(DEM)​ ​has​ ​gone​ ​to​ ​the​ ​extent​ ​of​ ​terming​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​as​ ​a​ ​“ploy​ ​of​ ​India”​ ​to​ ​continue the​ ​so-called​ ​occupation​ ​of​ ​Kashmir.​ ​She​ ​has​ ​called​ ​the​ ​police​ ​an​ ​enemy​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​and​ ​openly​ ​urged​ ​the people​ ​to​ ​not​ ​cooperate​ ​with​ ​investigating​ ​teams. 

Even​ ​a​ ​mature​ ​political​ ​leader​ ​like​ ​GA​ ​Mir,​ ​President​ ​of​ ​the​ ​J&K​ ​Pradesh​ ​Congress​ ​Committee,​ ​has​ ​gone​ ​on record​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​the​ ​incumbent​ ​government​ ​is​ ​“responsible​ ​for​ ​such​ ​incidents”​ ​and​ ​they​ ​constitute​ ​a “Government​ ​sponsored​ ​design.” 

It​ ​is​ ​very​ ​sad​ ​to​ ​see​ ​such​ ​political​ ​brinkmanship​ ​at​ ​a​ ​time​ ​when​ ​all​ ​elements​ ​inclusive​ ​of​ ​the​ ​civil​ ​society, political​ ​constituents,​ ​common​ ​people,​ ​police​ ​and​ ​security​ ​forces​ ​should​ ​be​ ​joining​ ​hands​ ​to​ ​overcome​ ​the problem. 

When​ ​elders​ ​should​ ​be​ ​providing​ ​solace​ ​to​ ​the​ ​victims​ ​and​ ​ensuring​ ​that​ ​the​ ​situation​ ​does​ ​not​ ​escalate, they​ ​are​ ​immersed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​redundant​ ​exercise​ ​of​ ​gaining​ ​political​ ​brownie​ ​points.​ ​The​ ​attempted​ ​killing​ ​of​ ​two innocent​ ​youth​ ​and​ ​thrashing​ ​of​ ​some​ ​security​ ​personnel/women​ ​can​ ​be​ ​considered​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​result​ ​of incitement​ ​from​ ​various​ ​sources. 

Chief​ ​Minister​ ​Mehbooba​ ​Mufti​ ​has,​ ​very​ ​rightly,​ ​described​ ​the​ ​protests​ ​and​ ​associated​ ​actions​ ​as​ ​an attempt​ ​to​ ​create​ ​mass​ ​hysteria​ ​and​ ​has​ ​assured​ ​that​ ​the​ ​government​ ​will​ ​take​ ​steps​ ​to​ ​“find​ ​the​ ​motive behind​ ​the​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​attacks.”​ ​Her​ ​statement​ ​implies​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​more​ ​to​ ​these​ ​incidents​ ​than​ ​meets the​ ​eye​ ​and​ ​they​ ​could​ ​well​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​well​ ​laid​ ​out​ ​plan​ ​of​ ​the​ ​enemy​ ​to​ ​destabilise​ ​the​ ​region.  The​ ​police,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​meantime,​ ​is​ ​in​ ​overdrive​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​of​ ​the​ ​problem.​ ​The​ ​award​ ​for​ ​credible information​ ​about​ ​the​ ​braid​ ​chopping​ ​incidents​ ​has​ ​been​ ​increased​ ​from​ ​Rs.​ ​3​ ​lakh​ ​to​ ​Rs.​ ​6​ ​lakh.​ ​Special teams​ ​have​ ​been​ ​instituted,​ ​joint​ ​patrolling​ ​along​ ​with​ ​locals​ ​is​ ​being​ ​done​ ​and​ ​helpline​ ​numbers​ ​are​ ​in place.People​ ​inciting​ ​distrust​ ​and​ ​violence​ ​have​ ​been​ ​identified​ ​and​ ​arrested.​ ​The​ ​police,​ ​however,​ ​has​ ​gone on​ ​record​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​support​ ​by​ ​either​ ​the​ ​victim​ ​or​ ​the​ ​family​ ​members​ ​for​ ​furthering​ ​the​ ​investigation​ ​is not​ ​forthcoming.​ ​A​ ​specific​ ​appeal​ ​for​ ​cooperation​ ​has​ ​been​ ​issued.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​here​ ​that​ ​the​ ​community​ ​leaders should​ ​come​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​assist​ ​the​ ​government.

Braid​ ​chopping​ ​is​ ​not​ ​stopping​ ​in​ ​Kashmir​ ​due​ ​to​ ​an​ ​all​ ​pervasive​ ​fear,​ ​media​ ​attention​ ​and​ ​“conspiracy theories.”​ ​It​ ​has​ ​become​ ​a​ ​tool​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hands​ ​of​ ​inimical​ ​forces​ ​to​ ​destabilise​ ​the​ ​region.​ Community​ ​leaders need​ ​to​ ​come​ ​forward​ ​and​ ​play​ ​a​ ​big​ ​role​ ​in​ ​meeting​ ​the​ ​challenge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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