Asif Iqbal
Srinagar, Oct 9: Amid restrictions in parts of Srinagar, normal life was affected on Monday by a shutdown called by Joint Resistance Leadership to protest against growing incidents of braid woman, hitherto a mysterious phenomenon likened by the leaders as “humiliation” meted to the fairer gender.
Reports said that all most all shops, private offices and other business establishments were closed throughout the day due to the shutdown and restrictions within the jurisdiction of seven police stations in downtown Srinagar.
According an order by District Magistrate Srinagar, restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC are imposed within the jurisdiction of police stations Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Kralkhud, Maisuma, M R Gunj and Safakadal as a “precautionary measure” to avoid any untoward incident.
Skeletal public and private transport was seen plying on all the major roads and highways across the Valley.
The Joint resistance leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik termed braid chopping as “a well thought out conspiracy and a big challenge for us as dignity of women folk is at stake.”
 They had appealed people to observe complete shutdown against “humiliation meted to women”.
“Let us convey a message to these miscreants that in no way we will give up our resistance and that we will pursue the right to self-determination movement,” they said. So far, the state government has failed to unravel the mystery behind the braid chopping.
Special investigation teams and round the clock helplines have been also set up in every district to probe the incidents. Police has also announced a reward of Rs 6 lakh to anybody who can give leads on the braid choppers.
While no arrests have been made so far, the police has threatened legal action against those spreading braid-chopping rumours.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also assured stern action against the culprits and public avowed to get to the root of the incident and unmask those behind such incidents.
At some places, locals have caught ‘innocent people’ suspecting them of being the culprits. For example in Delina Baramulla, locals thrashed a boy suspecting him to be a braid chopper. He revealed to police that he was there to meet his girl friend.
Box
Police denies arrest of ‘braid choppers’
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday quashed rumours that two braid-choppers were arrested at Nishat in outskirts of Srinagar and said that it has started investigations to identify the persons involved in fabricating the news.
“Police has taken cognizance of rumours being spread out by some miscreants through social media, Facebook and WhatsApp, about capture of so-called braid choppers at Nishat, Srinagar. An FIR has been lodged against the miscreants and investigation has been started to identify the persons involved in fabricating the news,” a police spokesman said. “The truth about the photograph, circulated, on social media is that on the evening of October 6, two local residents captured two persons at Nishat accusing them of being braid choppers. They were beaten and thrashed severely by the residents. However, as the police got to know about the incident, a team promptly rushed to the spot and took custody of the ‘captured persons’. They were however let off after proper investigation and treatment as they had received injuries during thrashing by the people.”
One of them Sameer Ahmad Khan son of Noor Mohammad Khan 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 of Gujwara had gone to collect some material from one of his customers, a girl (name with held) resident of Ishbar Nishat, the spokesman said.
“The girl is also sister in law of Sameer’s brother. As the duo reached near girls house, some two or three persons raised alarm doubting them as ‘braid choppers. Meanwhile several other residents gathered and started beating them mercilessly. They could have been lynched if police did not act on time and rescued them.”
However, since Monday morning, some Facebook and WhatsApp user groups have started to spread rumours about them that they had admitted their guilt as being braid choppers, the spokesman said.
“Police has taken cognizance of these rumours, and a case FIR number 54  has been registered in Police Station Nishat. The investigation of the case is going on and efforts are on to identify the persons involved in fabricating the news. Police has requested general public not to pay heed to rumour mongers.”