Whiff of politics in braid chopping

By now you all must be aware of this braid chopping incidents which have been taking place in J&K. I am sure initially, like me you too, must have started hearing about such incidents when they were happening in areas of Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Finally, after these states this braid chopping reached J&K. It started particularly from Jammu region and increased like a wild fire in very short span of time. This braid chopping events turned into hundreds of cases and by now almost 250 cases in Jammu region are registered by police. However, sad part is that up till now no one is arrested.
 
In beginning, situation was such that every day two-three cases were getting reported in Jammu region. Moreover, from areas like Akhnoor, Arnia, Miran Sahib, Bishnah & Samba maximum cases of this braid chopping were getting reported. Though this all was happening in different areas but very similar statements defining these incidents were given by ladies who were getting affected. Whenever the braid chopping incident happened with any lady, out of all these affected ladies some said that they fell unconscious; other said they saw nothing and while some said they saw some shadow. These same comments given by the affected ladies furthered the panic among ladies all over Jammu region.
 
The rumor mill started working once again and propagated the ideas like; that it is handiwork of some tantrik and several people blamed it on group of men for such incidents. There was absolute fear among ladies who were trying different methods in order to save themselves from such incident. While this all was happening, doctors and psychiatrist on their own lines held these incidents as a psychiatric problem and a pure case of mass hysteria among ladies. They justified their claim by reminding of earlier events when statutes of God were seen drinking milk & tears coming out of portraits in many countries.
 
Then came a time when these incidents slowed for some time in Jammu and many, like me, believed that it is over. But this wasn't end rather it was another beginning as braid chopping was reported from Kashmir region. More than 100 cases till now have been reported in Kashmir. However, the most important turn came in this braid chopping incidents when protests started happening over it in Kashmir region. People have started coming out on roads to lodge their protest against these incidents. In addition to it, restrictions are being imposed in many areas as people are getting injured as they are engaging with security forces. Events took an unfortunate turn when panic struck Kashmiri people killed a 70 year old innocent man in Anantnag district, believing him to be a braid chopper.
 
While this all is happening one has to watch out as how the braid chopping in Kashmir is now giving out whiff of politics. The overall feel came to me when I noticed that one after another political statements are coming in Kashmir on this issue. To start with, just see how the J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti assured stern action against the culprits. Though there is nothing wrong on her part in saying that but I believe it was deserved weeks back when all such incidents started happening from Jammu. Even a senior leader of the Congress party in J&K demanded the compensation of one crore for the victims of braid chopping. The amount demanded as compensation itself shows that it is totally out of proportion and is just a method adopted to add some sympathy in this problem. It didn't end here, as one of the women leaders of National Conference (NC) has blamed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for all these braid chopping incidents in Kashmir. Interestingly, even the separatists have joined this debate and are openly joining the mobs that are protesting against braid chopping. They are accusing the security agencies and Government of India for all these incidents. Such was the intensity of this problem in political circles of Kashmir that the J&K police constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe these incidents. Besides, police has announced a reward of Rs 6 lakh to get leads on the braid chopper.
 
I have a simple question - why it is that none from political circle of J&K spoke in such manner when these incidents were happening in Jammu? Sadly, in this case also the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) being part of coalition government didn't speak anything in favour of Jammu. Lethargy shown by the political set up for people of Jammu is not new. This thing is clearer ever since the BJP hasn't been able to defend the interest of Jammu. We all can very clearly see that instead of it being taken as a social problem in Kashmir, braid chopping has become a law and order issue. Recently, the braid chopping matter reached High Court of J&K after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed over this matter in Kashmir. And the court thereafter has demanded action from concerned authorities over this matter and has given several suggestions to police in order to curb this problem. Perhaps a thing which is worrying is that, it is again like a spark within and the chances of it setting things on fire in Kashmir are possible.

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Author

Satwant Singh Rissam