Kashmir Shuts against increasing braid chopping incidents, Amid protests, kid hit by stone

  • Clashes in Batamaloo
  • Curbs cripple Downtown
  • Minor injured in Pulwama
  • Police file FIR against locals for thrashing 2 civilians at Nishat

Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Monday against the ‘ongoing’ braid-chopping incidents that have brought the government and the police under fire from people. The call for shutdown was given by the joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.
The government had imposed strict curbs in MaharajGunj, Safa Kadal, Rainawari and Nowhatta areas of Downtown to thwart protests, even as normal life across Kashmir was crippled by the shutdown. In LalChowk, the commercial hub of Srinagar, and elsewhere across Kashmir, all shops, banks and private institutions remained closed while government offices witnessed very thin attendance of employees. The public transport was completely off the roads.
Reports from various district headquarters said that the shutdown call evoked a complete response.
While Geelani and Mirwaiz continued to remain under house detention, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik is lodged at central jail Srinagar on a judicial remand.
At least 50 incidents of braid chopping have been reported from Kashmir so far while 40 FIRs are registered in various police stations. No one has however been arrested till date, even as the police have sought cooperation of people and victims to crack the case.
The police have been completely clueless on the issue but have also formed Special Investigation Teams to probe the incidents. The police have also announced a reward of Rs six lakh for “credible information” leading to arrest of any person behind braid-chopping incidents.

Protests In Batamaloo
Police used force to disperse protesters, mostly women, at Batamaloo here. The protesters had hit streets against the growing incidents of braid-chopping in Kashmir.
A witness said that the police resorted to teargas shelling and lathi-charge to break-up the protests when the protesters headed towards the main chowk. The protesters raised slogans against the government and demanded the arrest of culprits.

Minor Injured In Pulwama
Police said a five-year-old was critically injured after “miscreants” pelted stones on vehicles near Pahoo bridge in Pulwama district. “In the morning, some miscreants blocked Pulwama-Srinagar road at Pahoo bridge following the shutdown call given by the separatists,” a police spokesman said.
He said that the “miscreants” pelted stones on private and commercial vehicles. “A minor boy SiftiHyder, 5, son of Reyaz Ahmad Malik, of Gangoo Pulwama, who was travelling in a sumo vehicle, was seriously injured after he was hit by a stone pelted by stone-throwers, on his head,” the spokesman alleged.
“The injured was rushed to district hospital Pulwama where from he was referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar in a critical condition,” the spokesman said, adding: “A police party rushed to the spot and chased away the miscreants. Pulwama police have registered a case vide FIR No 344/2017 under section 307, 148, 149, 336, 427 RPC in this regard and investigation has been taken up.”

FIR against ‘Rumor Mongers’
Police said it has taken cognisance of rumours being spread by some “miscreants” through social media, Facebook and Whatsapp, about capturing of a braid chopper at Nishat, Srinagar. “An FIR has been lodged against the miscreants and investigation started to identify the persons involved in fabricating the news,” a police spokesman said.
He said that the fact 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 police team promptly rushed to the spot and took custody of the ‘captured persons,” the spokesman said. “They were however let off after proper investigation and treatment as they had received injuries during thrashing by the people.”
He said that one of them Sameer Ahmad Khan son of Noor Muhammad 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 withheld), a resident of Ishber Nishat. “The girl is also sister-in-law of Sameer’s brother,” the spokesman said. “As the duo reached near girl’s 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 the police had not rescued them.”
He said that since morning, some Facebook and Whatsapp user groups are spreading rumours that the arrested boys had admitted that they are “braid choppers”. “Police have taken cognisance of these rumours and a case vide FIR No 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.”

Protest In Tral
A protest rally was taken out by ‘Citizens Council’ in Tral area of Pulwama district against the braid-chopping incidents. A witness said that many members from the Sikh community also participated in the protests. “These unfortunate incidents are happening everywhere and there seems to be no end. The government has failed to nab the culprits and we demand concrete measures to identify the people behind braid chopping incidents,” said chairman of the Citizens Council, Farooq Ahmed Trali.