Aqib Ali

Srinagar, Oct 25: The J&K High Court on Wednesday pulled up police for its investigation as braid chopping mystery remains unravelled by it even after two months.

As the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation started, the government informed a Division Bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey that 153 incidents of braid chopping have been reported in the Valley hitherto. It said “lack of cooperation” of victims with police was proving unhelpful to unravel the mystery.

After perusing the police report, the court observed that the investigators, “it appears have not been using their brains.”

“If they would have, then so far somebody behind this mysterious braid chopping would have been caught by them,” the court said, underling that that Police can always summon a person for collecting the evidence and record statement.

The court according to Kashmir Glory suggested police to constitute and depute “specialized crime teams” to the spot so that the exact modus operandi of the perpetrators behind braid chopping was derived.

Amid a spike in the braid chopping incidents, the High Court on October 13 had directed authorities to carry crime mapping regarding all the incidents which have taken place in the state.

The court has already directed the State to ensure that there was proper patrolling, nakas, night surveillance by the police “who shall also take other preventive measures so as to prevent braid chopping incidents in future.”

The court was hearing a PIL filed by two lawyers— Hilal Akbar Akbar Lone and Masarat Kawsar, seeing directions to the government to submit the status report of the cases if investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) so for and also prayed the court to direct the government to take concrete and efficient steps to eradicate the menace of braid chopping in the state.

“Director General of Police J&K feels braid chopping incidents in Kashmir Valley as a tool  used to whip-up hysteria against security forces and fearing anti-India sentiment, however on the other hand the general public perception is that it suits the security forces most by creating fear psychosis among the people in general so that no logistic support is provided to the militants in particular. Whatever is true, but the most unfortunate part of it is, Kashmiri women have to suffer and bear the brunt of all the war of intelligentsia of either of the two sides,” they said, adding, “The female population now scare to step out of their house and some have even stopped attending schools in south Kashmir.”

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 arrested scores of people for 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.