Braid chopping: Police acts to control mob frenzy, arrests dozens of youth  

Srinagar: Police on Saturday claimed to have arrested dozens of persons involved in instigating violence over braid chopping incidents in various parts of Kashmir Valley. The police action comes hours after miscreants tried to create a frenzied atmosphere by targeting and attacking the suspected braid choppers.

Police said that they have arrested 18 accused on charges of assault on army men in Sheeri, Baramulla last week.

A police spokesman in a statement issued here said that a total of 45 rumour mongers including 18 accused in thrashing of Territorial army men in Sheeri Baramulla on 18th October 2017, have been arrested.

Police said that they have arrested the main conspirators in the case and recovered looted cash, ATM cards and mobile phones from them.

Pertinently, on 18th of October, 2017 at about 11:30 three Territorial Army men were assaulted by a mob in Sheeri Baramulla who accused them of being braid choppers.

Consequently, a case FIR No. 48 of 2017 under sections of 307, 148, 149 RPC was registered in Police Station Sheeri.

“During investigation it surfaced that the three Territorial Army men were on board a passenger vehicle to withdraw money from ATM in Sheeri market and get the searchlights repaired. They had boarded the passenger vehicle at Kitchama and from the same spot, a notorious stone pelter Qaiser Bilal Bhat son of Bilal Ahmad Bhat of Zoogiyar also boarded the same passenger bus. The said person hatched a conspiracy to get Army men killed by falsely accusing them as braid choppers. He raised a hue and cry near Sheeri Market, and got a violent mob to assemble that attacked the Army men,” police statement said.

Police also claims to have learnt during the investigation of these braid chopping cases that some elements are raising ‘false alarms’ to achieve their vested objectives.

“These elements have an intention to disturb peace and order of the valley. They are trying to create animosity between people and security forces especially J&K Police. These elements are also creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for forcing womenfolk to get confined in their homes so that radical religious agenda of these elements is realized and are deliberately raising Zakir Moosa slogans to make their intentions public,” police statement added.

Meanwhile, Police in Sopore said that they have arrested 12 persons in connection with the lynching of a mentally challenged man in Mazbug area of Sopore on Friday.

Police said that at least 12 youths, who were identified from the video of the attack, were picked up during nocturnal raids in Mazbug area of Sopore.

SSP Sopore Harmeet Singh said that more arrests were expected in the case.

“We are trying arrest another 15 people who were part of the unruly crowd that wanted to set the man afire. The arrests will continue,” he said.

The man, who was rescued from the mob, is still critical in the SMHS, police said.

He said among the arrestees many are involved in stone pelting cases during last year unrest and some work with the affiliation of Hurriyat conference and some political parties.

Meanwhile, 14 rumour mongers were arrested in Srinagar for spreading rumours and instigating people for stone pelting.

Police said that eight persons were arrested from Batamaloo area in Shaheed Gunj sub-division while 06 others were held from Noorbagh area of Maharaj Gunj subdivision of Srinagar city in different raids by the police.

 These miscreants were spreading rumours on braid chopping and were causing panic among the people. They were taking advantage of braid chopping incidents to instigate general public for protest and stone pelting.

A police spokesman said that on the evening of 6th of October local resident of Akhoon Mohalla Ishber Nishat captured two persons accusing them of being braid choppers.

They were beaten and thrashed severely by the locals. However, as the police got to know about the incident, a police team promptly rushed to the spot and took custody of the ‘captured persons’. They were however let off after proper investigation and medical treatment.

 One of them Sameer Ahmad Khan son of Noor Mohammad Khan residen of Ahmad Nagar runs a boutique at Gojwara Srinagar under the banner of “Silayee Ghar”.

 He, along with his friend Tahir Ahmad Beigh son of Ghulam Qadir Beigh resident of Gojwara had gone to collect some material from one of their customers.

 As the duo reached near customers house, some two or three persons raised alarm doubting them as “braid choppers”. Meanwhile several other residents gathered and started beating them mercilessly.

Police took the cognizance of the incident, and case FIR 54/2017 under relevant sections of law was registered. Number of people involved in the incident have been identified, out of which three main accused persons namely Basharat Maqbool, Ashiq Akhoon and Owais wani were arrested.

More arrests are expected soon, he added.

The spokesman said that on 17th of October Police received an information that a braid chopping incident has occurred in Village Redii Chowkibal. Later, it was learnt that an unruly mob of miscreants had caught hold of a Army man of 3rd JAKLI accusing him of being a braid chopper.

Soon Police Party headed by SHO Police Station Kralpora from Police Station Kralpora rushed to the spot and after strenuous efforts rescued the injured Army man who was immediately evacuated and shifted to 92 Base Hospital Srinagar for further treatment.

During the course of investigation, it surfaced that after the said braid chopping incident, some miscreants had alleged that the braid chopper was an Army man and who after committing the offence had boarded the Army CASPER vehicle deployed on ROP duties.

The rumour soon spread like a wild fire and the miscreants had caught hold of an Army man and had started thrashing him ruthlessly with an intention to kill him. It was only because of timely intervention of police party that the said Army personnel was rescued in an injured condition after which the miscreants started pelting stones on the police party, the spokesman added.

The situation was handled while exercising the maximum restraint and SOP was implemented to disperse the violent mob. Case under relevant sections of law was registered and investigation was set into motion. So far 10 persons were arrested and two vehicles were also seized. The investigations further proved that neither the lady whose braid was chopped off nor any of her family members had seen any Army personnel either in the house where the incident took place or elsewhere. No person has claimed to have seen the Army personnel running from the house towards the road where the CASPER vehicle was stationed.

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