Arrests many youths in Baramulla, Kupwara, Srinagar for beating forces personnel, civilians 
Asif Iqbal
Srinagar, Oct 21: Who is behind braid chopping? The mystery remains unsolved as another day passed by on Saturday. However Police cracked whip against protesters by arresting many youths allegedly involved in beating forces men and civilians on suspicion of being braid cutters in Kashmir Valley.
SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain said that on 18th of October at about 1130 hours, police station Sheeri received information that mob have caught hold of three Territorial Army men assaulting them mercilessly with an intention to kill them. “Thereafter Police Party from Police Station Sheeri rushed on spot and after strenuous efforts rescued the Army men in injured condition who were given immediate medical treatment,” he said.
The SSP said 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 search lights 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 resident 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 hue and cry near Sheeri Market, and got a violent mob assembled who attacked the Army men,” he said.  The SSP said police has so far arrested 18 accused including the main conspirators in the case and recovered looted cash, ATM cards and mobile phones from them.
“Police has also learnt during investigation of these so called braid chopping cases that some elements are raising false alarms to achieve three objectives including disturbing peace and order of the valley, to create animosity between people and security forces especially J&K Police and to create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for force women folk to get confined in their homes, so that radical religious agenda of these elements is realized,” he said.
Meanwhile, police said it it has arrested 10 persons from Kralpora Kupwara for ‘thrashing’ an army man of JAKLI whom people accused of being a braid chopper.   “On October 17 at about 0930 hours, Police Station Kralpora received information that a braid chopping incident has occurred in Village Redii Chowkibal after which an unruly mob of miscreants have caught hold of an Army man of 3rd JAKLI accusing him of being a braid chopper,” a police spokesman in a statement issued here.
Soon a police party headed by SHO Kralpora rushed to the spot and after strenuous efforts rescued the injured soldier who was immediately evacuated and shifted to 92 Base hospital Srinagar for further treatment, he said. “During the course of investigation, it surfaced that after the braid chopping incident, some miscreants 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 caught hold of an Army man and started thrashing him ruthlessly with an intention to kill him,” the spokesman said. It was only because of timely intervention of police party that the Army personnel was rescued in an injured condition after which the “miscreants” started pelting stones on the police party, he said.
“The situation was handled with due care and SOP was implemented to disperse the violent mob. Cases under relevant sections of law were registered and investigation set into motion and 10 persons have been arrested so far and also two vehicles have been seized,” the spokesman said.
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”, the spokesman said. “No person has come forward claiming to have seen the Army personnel running from the house towards the road where the CASPER vehicle was stationed.”
During the investigation of these alleged braid chopping cases, police reiterated some “anti-social and anti-national” elements are raising false rumours to achieve three objectives: disturb peace and tranquility in district, creating hatred among masses about Police and other forces and create fear and uncertainty among women folk.
In the meanwhile, SSP Sopore Harmeet Singh said that 12 persons have been arrested by police in connection with beating of a mentally challenged youth Wasim Tantray yesterday at Mazbugh Sopore. He said further arrests would be made in this regard. Earlier, three more persons have been arrested in Srinagar City for spreading rumors and beating innocents over braid-chopping.
“On the evening of 6th of October local resident of Akhoon Mohalla Ishber Nishat captured two persons accusing them of being braid choppers”, a police statement issued to GNS said.  They were beaten and thrashed severely by the residents. 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’, the statement said.  They were however let off after proper investigation and treatment as they had received injuries during thrashing by the people, the statement said.
One of them Sameer Ahmad Khan s/o Noor Mohammad Khan r/o Ahmad Nagar runs a boutique at Gojwara Srinagar under the banner of “Silayee Ghar”, the statement said.  He, along with his friend Tahir Ahmad Beigh s/o Ghulam Qadir Beigh r/o Gujwara had gone to collect some material from one of his customers, the statement said.
As the duo reached near customers’ house, some two or three persons raised alarm doubting them as “braid choppers”, the statement said.  “Meanwhile several other residents gathered and started beating them mercilessly”.  Police took the cognizance of the incident, and case FIR 54/2017 was registered, the statement said.
Many involved in the incident have been identified, out of which three main accused persons namely Basharat Maqbool, Ashiq akhoon and Owais wani have been arrested, the statement said.  More arrests are expected soon, the statement said. In the meanwhile, police today arrested 14 persons for spreading rumours over braid chopping in Srinagar.
Official sources said that eight persons were arrested from Batamaloo while six others were held from Noorbagh.   A police officer said that these persons were spreading rumours on braid chopping and causing panic among the people. “These rumour mongers were taking advantage of braid chopping incidents to instigate general public for protests,” the police official said.