People allege army was behind “braid chopping”
ANANTNAG: Protests erupted in Tchimmer village of Damhal Hanjipora area in Kulgam on Wednesday after troopers of the Indian Army allegedly fired shots in the air to help a “braid chopper” escape after he was nabbed by people while trying to chop a girl’s braid.
Similar allegations had surfaced against the army on Monday in Malwan village of Devsar area in Kulgam. Following the incident, a complete shutdown was observed in the Kulgam district.
Wednesday’s attempt to chop the braid of a girl was one of several such incidents in south Kashmir where unknown assailants have chopped of women’s braids. The incidents, the put women through public harassment, have left people across Kashmir enraged.
Police have formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the incidents while the district administration on Wednesday established a dedicated helpline “to mitigate the anxiety” of the public. “In this regard, public has been informed to contact 9419047052/ 9419367252 for any help or registration of any grievance,” Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Mohammad Younis Malik, said.
At least nine FIRs have been registered in different police stations of Kulgam district while as people narrate stories of many more incidents where a complaint has not been registered.
The incident in Tchimmer took place at about 11:00 AM where a family raised a hue and cry that caught the attention of the villagers. Eyewitnesses said that they chased the person who had attacked a girl and grabbed hold of him.
“While he was being held by villagers, army men came and fired several rounds in the air to disperse people. The braid chopper fled the scene with the help of army,” a villager narrated.
Soon, the villagers took to streets, demanding immediate action against army troopers who they alleged of involvement in braid chopping incidents. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters following which intense stone pelting continued in the area for a while.
Army, however, has refuted the allegations. “Our men have nothing to do with the controversy and none of our men has opened fire anywhere in Kulgam today,” Defense spokesperson, Rajesh Kalia, told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday.