Protests and panic across Valley

Muheet ul Islam / Mushtaq Ahmad

Srinagar/ Baramulla: Bilal Ahmad Goujri, a 30-year-old man of Chattabal Bagyar, received an injury in the right leg after he was allegedly thrown out of a window of his house by an unidentified hair cutter on Tuesday night.
Farooq Ahmad Goujri, Bilal’s brother, told Kashmir Reader that the hair cutter had attempted to cut the hair of his 15-year-old daughter, Mehak Jan, and 25-year-old sister-in-law, Ishrat, when they were coming out of a bathroom in their lawn.
“Ishrat shouted when her hair was pulled by the hair cutter. I jumped out of a window to save her and to nab him, but he climbed up the house and went inside,” Farooq said. He said Ishrat’s husband tried to confront the intruder inside the room, during which Bilal was pushed outside through a window. “The intruder threw him out through a window from the second-storey, as a result of which he received an injury in his right leg.”
Bilal was rushed to Bone and Joints Hospital for immediate treatment in which he was bandaged in plaster. “Doctors have suggested that he has to undergo a surgery,” Farooq said.
Chattabal residents registered their protest against the incident on Wednesday morning. According to eyewitnesses, several men and women came out on the streets and raised slogans against the state administration.
At the University of Kashmir, a person working in a police department was called by a peon of Model School after he witnessed a suspicious moment. The person ran and the peon raised an alarm; students immediately felt that he was a hair cutter. The person was later caught and produced before the Chief Proctor of the University, during which it was found that he was a policeman. “The person was identified as 25-year-old Idress who had come to the University for personal work,” KU Proctor Dr Naseer told Kashmir Reader.
An unconfirmed hair-cutting incident was also reported from Samerbugh area of district Budgam on the city outskirts. Reports said that the incident happened in the area in the afternoon to a lady belonging to the boatman community.
Students of Government Degree College, Pampore, also staged a peaceful protest against the rising incidents of hair cutting across the Valley. The protesting students raised slogans inside the college premises and demanded the culprits’ arrest.
According to eyewitnesses, the students raised slogans against the hair-cutting incidents and urged the authorities to nab the culprits who are behind them. They also accused the government of having failed to save the chastity and modesty of the women folk of Kashmir. The protesters also appealed to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to intervene in the case and to direct the police to identify the “elements who want to induce fear and chaos in the Valley”. They also appealed to the CM to resign if she cannot provide security to women despite being a woman herself.
In Narvaw area of Baramulla district, two women identified as Asia and Shaheena were allegedly attacked by unknown assailants who cut their hair twice in less than a week. Asia, 20, daughter of Abdul Majeed Malik of Shaltang village, Baramulla, was first attacked on 14 October around 1 pm when an assailant jumped into her room. Her mother, who was working in the kitchen at the time, told Kashmir Reader that she had called out to her daughter several times, after which “I rushed towards the room of my daughter where I found her unconscious. The other family members shifted Asia to a nearby hospital, while some people took to the streets and staged a protest on the Srinagar-Muzafarabad road.”
Two days later, at around noon on 16 October, Asia’s mother was working in her garden, the family says, while her daughter was busy at chores inside. At that time, a youth in a white shirt sprang upon Asia and gagged her, chopped more of her hair and escaped from the spot. People said that the attack was the second in two days. Soon after the incident, neighbours in large numbers started a man hunt and searched other nearby houses, but were unable to trace the culprits.
Soon after the incident, a Baramulla police team, headed by DSP Headquarters Rahul Mircha, reached the spot and recorded the statements of the family and the victim. The family also handed over the chopped hairs to the police in a blue coloured polythene bag. However, as the police were recording statements and trying to ascertain facts, some youths with sticks and iron rods started anti-police and pro-Azadi protests. The protesting youths took to the streets and disrupted the police investigation, reaching main market Sheeri and blocking the Srinagar-Muzafarabad road for some time. The police party too made its way there and dispersed the protesting youths. The investigation is still continuing.
Similarly, on 17 October, unknown persons chopped off the hair of a married woman, Shaheena, a mother of two and wife of Manzoor Ahmad Lone of Pehliharn village of Narvaw, Baramulla, just four kms from Asia’s residence. The attackers used an unknown spray to render Shaheena unconscious when she went to the washroom outside her house at around 8 pm. According to her family, they were all watching the news on television when Shaheena’s husband went out to check on her. He found her unconscious in front of the washroom with her braid cut. The family shifted her to a nearby hospital and registered a case on 18 October.
That same day, family sources said, Shaheena went to her bedroom at around 7 pm to close an open window when two persons blocked her mouth and chopped more of her hair and left. The family said they can’t understand how these two persons were waiting outside the house and attacked the same women a second time. The first time, they throw some spray on Shaheena, the family said, but the next day, they blocked her mouth without spray and chopped more of her hair.
Soon after the incident, a large number of people staged a protest against the attack and started a manhunt, but according to the family, the choppers had run and disappeared in the black evening. The second attack on the victim put her and her family into deep shock and frightened people immensely.
While talking to Kashmir Reader, a senior Baramulla doctor, who wished not to be named, said that if the government failed to trace these choppers, the time was not very far when most of the people will be stricken with mental illness and some would cut their own hair. He said the time had come when people and government agencies should take strict steps against it, otherwise it will create a big problem in society. “I can’t say that it is only hysteria, some people have done the crime and now some people are putting petrol in it to disturb the peace.” The doctor appealed to people to investigate suspects before thrashing anyone, “otherwise we are going towards a wrong way”.