By Khursheed Yousuf
The rampant increase of braid chopping incidents of the women in the Kashmir valley -especially in Kulgam district has drawn serious concerns from all stake holders of the society. The victims of this catastrophic act are female folk, struggling hard in this patriarchic society to maintain their existence. In a state where women are marginalized, exploited and considered as weaker section of the society, the said incidents have only added miseries to them. Leaving aside the psychological trauma, it has restricted movement of the women in the society. They are frightened, harassed and tortured by these incidents.
Female folk are physically weak and are unable to defend at the time of incident. Women, who love to grow long hair that adds to their beauty , of all age groups be it young or old have become victims of this torture. It is a serious social issue that needs to be addressed on a war footing.
Initially, the timing of the braid chopping incidents was night hours; now the choppers easily do their job in broad daylight without any fear of arrest. Not a single day passes when these choppers are off from their duty. The choppers reach every nook and corner of the valley and do their job with ease.
Mehbooba Mufti has issued directions to the Police department regarding the issue, however, the said department laced with sophisticated machinery, technology and resources , has failed to deliver the results yet. The whole government machinery has failed to nab the culprits. The decisions taken in high profile administrative meetings have remained only on paper and nothing concrete has been done. The doubling of rewards by the police for giving credible information about the culprits has failed to deliver the result. The lackadaisical and non seriousness approach of the government side about the issue has strengthened the hands of the braid choppers. The reason behind this non seriousness approach is well known to them. Mere press conferences and briefings will not help in any way. Police department has to pull its socks as seen in other issues and cases referred to them.
In various incidents , the culprits were nabbed by the people on spot, however , the security forces have only assisted in freeing the culprit from the clutches of mob. The first hand statement of the victims has revealed that these choppers wore uniform of the security forces. The hidden agenda behind the braid chopping of the women is beyond the common man’s understanding. Moreover , it is not the work of one man, a group or may be an association is involved in this heinous crime.
The braid choppers way of approaching to the victim is mysterious and beyond comprehension. People relate it with some form of black magic. Many incidents of braid chopping have been foiled. But after chasing, the perpetrators vanish.
The volunteerism of people, at the village level, who are doing roundups during nights to foil the braid chopping incidents have born positive results in many areas. We have to encourage these night roundups and volunteerism for the same. The Government is equally responsible to take necessary steps for the safety of the women by channelizing the administration machinery and resources to put the culprits behind bars. And, women are advised to avoid being alone at home and outside. Another piece of advice is to keep doors and windows locked when alone at home.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected]