Protests follow ‘braid chopping’ in Nowgam

Protests follow ‘braid chopping’ in Nowgam
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Srinagar: Asmat Ayoub gestures as she looks at her mother, trying to hold back her emotions. She struggles to speak every time visitors ask about her well being. Moments later, her silence breaks into tears as her family narrates her ordeal.
Asmat, 18, was sitting in her room at Charlipora locality of Nowgam when two men barged inside through a window and “chopped off her hair”. The two are supposed to have used a “spray” to knock her out before chopping her hair, says her family, as they interpret her whispers and gestures.
“She doesn’t speak as she continues to be in a shock,” says her cousin, Mairah.
Asmat was alone in the room, brushing her hair, when ‘two masked men’ barged inside, Mairah says.
“She (Asmat) was alone in her room when two men overpowered her used some spray that left her unconscious. Then they locked the room door,” Mairah told Kashmir Reader. She says one of the men had a long beard and tattoo on his hand.
The men, she says, banged the window to attract Asmat’s attention. “When she opened it, two men barged inside, sprayed some liquid on her face chopped off her hair,” Mairah explains, as Asmat narrates the incident using her hand gestures or in whispers.
Asmat, a class 10 student, was recently engaged. Her family was preparing for her brother’s wedding when the incident happened.
“The celebrations turned into mourning after the incident,” says Shaheena, her mother.
The incident happened at around 3.30 pm in Charlipora, a thinly populated neighbourhood in Nowgam area of Srinagar.
Earlier, a similar incident has occurred in Hajam Mohallah Nowgam. Protests erupted in the area after an elderly woman raised an alarm over the entry of two masked men into her house Saturday afternoon. The duo, according to the woman, fled the house.
Locals allege that braid choppers exploited the situation where entire neighbourhood was out to protest and cut the teenage girl’s hair.
“It has left everyone in shock. There is a panic among people especially women. Government should take this issue very seriously,” said Muhammad Shaheen, a resident of Nowgam.


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