Braid chopping: Clashes, protests rock Kashmir, fresh incident in Uri

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Clashes and protests continued against failure of the authorities to make any headway or curtail the alarming rise in the braid chopping cases in Kashmir valley, where a fresh incident was reported today.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to state government to file status report on the investigation so far conducted on braid chopping incidents in the valley by October 13.

Official sources said that braid of a teenage girl was chopped by unidentified persons at Bandi in Uri in north Kashmir district of Baramulla in the wee hours today.

They said the braid was chopped when the girl went to washroom outside her home in the wee hours.

As the news of braid chopping spread in Uri, instantaneous protests erupted at Bandi and adjoining areas.

Meanwhile, scores of demonstrators, including women, took to streets at Batamaloo to protest against failure of the government to curtail braid chopping incidents in the valley.

However, when protestors were moving towards the main chowk, security forces deployed in the area burst teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, who later resorted to stone pelting. Clashes between protestors and security forces have become a routine in Batamaloo from last couple of days.

Meanwhile, dozens of lawyers led by Jammu and Kashmir High Court (HC) Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom this afternoon took out a protest rally from HC complex Srinagar against braid chopping incidents in the valley.

Holding placards and shouting slogans in favour of their demands, the protesting lawyers marched towards Ganta Ghar in Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital.

The protesting lawyers staged a protest at Ghanta Ghar and later dispersed peacefully. “Today we are here to protest against the alarming rise in braid chopping incidents across Kashmir. We want that braid chopping be curtailed immediately so that women and again feel safe outside and inside their houses,” Mr Qayoom told reporters during the protest rally at Ghanta Ghar.

Scores of students of Government polytechnic Gogji Bagh Srinagar also staged a protest inside their campus, against braid chopping incidents in the valley.

Reports of protests against braid chopping came from some other parts of the valley as well.

Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid, besides other senior police officers in the valley have cited non-cooperation of victims, their families and general public as the reason behind no success in solving any of these cases.

But, with no letup in braid chopping incidents, fear has gripped the valley, where many people, including two women, were thrashed by mobs at various places in the last over a week. A 70-year-old man lost his life to this hysteria after he was hit by a brick outside his house as people mistook him as a braid chopper in the valley, where local society committees have started night watch initiatives to track suspicious movement in their respective areas. Beggars and rag-pickers have also disappeared in the Valley fearing wrath of the locals, who otherwise welcoming, see every new face with suspicion.

With incident, about 57 braid chopping incidents have taken place in Kashmir valley, where such cases have created panic among people. Many women living in various parts of the Valley have stopped going to morning and evening walks due to the scare of braid chopping.

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