That Braid chopping is a mental illness, or mass hysteria, the statement issued by a psychiatrist is based on a dubious premise. People who had no political intent spread the word as an effort to reduce the fear among masses. On the first glance, I had no objection with it, as I too had a shadow of doubt. Having no reason to believe the existence of braid choppers, or the men who have created the chaos, I took the statement positively until I faced some realities. The presence of rumors is not wrong but ignoring reality is not right either. Unnecessary buzz, which intensifies panic, is to be contained but alertness is equally significant. With great respect to the Dr Sahib, if he still stands by his statement, then I would prefer not to refer to him as “Doctor.”
More than 60 incidents of hair chopping have taken place, and the people have foiled enormous attempts. Chaos in the villages and far-flung areas receives no media coverage. We found the scarf of a women, miles away from her home, after an unsuccessful attempt of braid chopping. She received a minor ear injury as well; we cannot say that she did it herself in subconscious or unconscious mode. In some cases, spray bottles were found and somewhere other equipments. How easily doctor sahib brands it a kind of disorder and says that, women do it to gain sympathy?
Victims who came under blade include old women and adolescent girls. One wonders why they would want sympathy or attention, when they do not understand an ‘A’ of attention. If this is to be believed then news suits like this “The mentally ill women association has decided to chop their braid to seek attention of masses.” How queer it sounds. Believing the mass hysteria version needs no utility of brain. People with a little headwork will definitely develop a question mark, before believing it blindly. Does illness know any religion? Does it recognize boundaries? Color? Occupation? Class? Status? If not, then why, we the common people only?
Some intelligent architects and healthy cum evil brains are behind the ugly screen and against whom, this is being thumped is not the dumb society, to understand this. Current chaos serves a great purpose and everyone is well aware of that. People envisage a possible attack to Art 35-A, which is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court.
Security agencies in J&K have never been found so helpless. The helplessness arises only when it comes to probing the innocent killings or when they have to cover up any blunder. People do not believe, in the helplessness that police feign. If the security and intelligence agencies in Kashmir were so weak, they would have lost the grip over it years before. Everyone knows how they, manage to locate insurgents or others they are wanting to, so no sane mind is willing to believe them. The statements like this come to their rescue, it relieves them, and they cloak their failure and conspiracy with the readymade content of so called, intellectuals of the society.
The appalling state of affairs in the valley has panicked the people; those who are dependent on door-to-door sale, of the goods are strangled in the crisis. Police circumvent the duties and their failure has given scope to mob trials, and mob trials often lead to injustice. The anger, which flow in minds of the masses, is genuine but decrees against innocent people are unacceptable. Horror spread among people needs to be understood as well, they are forced to keep sticks, rods, axes and other weapons along to confront any possible attempt. Windows are patched with teen and protected with iron grill. Gates remain closed, round the clock, fences are repaired; homes look not different from dark jails. Kudos to the youth who remain alert and respond to every call for help. Some volunteer themselves and guard the vicinities round the night. Kashmir has faced it earlier, facing it now and will come in future but have always fought, are fighting and will keep fighting such tactics with more vigor. If we dive deep, we will find Kashmiri mobs different from rest of the India. No matter people spew out full rage against some suspected persons, but no death was reported, each suspected person was handed over to Auqaf committees and later on to police. Several people were beaten to death by faceless mobs in many states of India, in contrary to that Kashmir, which has witnessed violence from decades, stands tall as the symbol of humanity.
—The author is a student activist and a student at the law school of Kashmir University. He can be reached at [email protected]