All accused handed over to police innocent
Srinagar: Asserting that not one case of ‘braid chopping’ could be corroborated through investigations, the police have said that not a single victim has come forward and registered a case in a police station in this regard.
During investigations, the police further said, it emerged that 70 percent of those who claimed their hair had been chopped were psychiatric patients while the rest ranged from jilted lovers to those with enmities and other personal problems.
“In the entire Valley, nobody has come to the police or even filed a case to investigate the hair-chopping incidents,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Munir Khan said. “We have taken cognizance of the reported cases on our own.”
Khan said that the police had registered over 60 cases of braid chopping in Kashmir.
“During the investigations, 70 percent of cases were related to those victims who had a history of psychiatric problems,” the IGP said. “In other places, we found that either the victim was telling a fake story or had some personal problem.”
The many accused who were beaten and handed over to the police were innocent, he said.
“Like in Delina, the person who was beaten was a lover,” the IGP said.
Asking the victims to depose before the police whenever an incident of hair chopping occurs, the IGP said they have formed teams which will investigate such cases and aid victims.
“We have constituted special teams which will comprise of an additional deputy commissioner, social welfare officials, lady police sub-inspectors, doctors, and judges who will investigate such cases,” Khan said. “But the problem is that neither the victim nor the family is coming forward to give a clearer picture of the incident.”
Almost every day since the past three weeks, reports of hair chopping are pouring in from various corners of the Valley. The fear among people is such that braid chopping has become table talk, ladies are desisting from venturing out and people are holding night patrols to keep the alleged braid choppers away.
Over the past weeks, a few men were thrashed by people who mistook them for braid choppers. They later turned out to be either lovers or simply passersby.
Khan said the wide-spread fear of braid chopping and the associated rumour mill in Kashmir is giving rise to mass hysteria.
While giving a presser in Srinagar, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, said the police had taken cognizance of 23 cases of braid chopping, mainly in Srinagar, out of which one, in central Kashmir, turned out to be true. He also said that all the accused handed over to them by the people were found to be innocent.
“We interrogated a housemaid who admitted that she had chopped off the hair of a girl at Gulberg Colony since she was facing ill-treatment from the family,” said Bhat, who was accompanied by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Imtiyaz Parray.
“We investigated the case of another lady who turned out to be a psychiatric patient. She said she was having a bath when the braid chopper came and cut her hair. But the windows and doors were closed. The question is how did the chopper make his way inside the bathroom when everything is locked? In Ganderbal, a hair-chopping incident was reported. It turned out to be fake.”
Bhat said that all the accused who have been examined by the police have turned out to be innocent.
He also said almost 90 percent of the cases were reported from closed rooms. The DIG, however, said they were not given access to examine either the victims or the eyewitnesses.
“In most of the cases, we have not been provided support by the victims or close family members. As such, it was not possible for the police to come to a particular conclusion in each case without public support,” he said.
SSP Parray sought public support to unravel the mystery behind the unabated braid-chopping incidents in the Valley.
“People do not come forward. There is a law and order problem. People have to cooperate with us so that we can investigate the cases and solve the problem,” he said.
“We have to understand that gangs will not be always doing this. You can’t have a gang simultaneously working in north, south and central Kashmir. Hysteria is being fuelled. We have to act prudently.”
The SSP further said the police could not find the spray which victims claimed was used to make them unconscious.
“We could not find the much-talked-about spray used by the accused,” he said.