Mob in J-K tries to set ablaze mentally-challenged man for being ‘braid chopper’ | india news | Hindustan Times
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Mob in J-K tries to set ablaze mentally-challenged man for being ‘braid chopper’

Separatists, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik call for a shutdown on Saturday against the increasing cases of braid chopping in Kashmir Valley.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2017 21:45 IST
Abhishek Saha
A Kashmiri woman displays her braid, which was chopped in central Batamalloo area of Srinagar on October 8.
A Kashmiri woman displays her braid, which was chopped in central Batamalloo area of Srinagar on October 8. (Waseem Andrabi/ HT File Photo)

A mob thrashed a mentally challenged man and allegedly tried to set him afire on the suspicion of being a “braid chopper” in north Kashmir’s Sopore, police said on Friday.

A video circulated on the social media showed members of the mob shouting that the man – Wasim Ahmad Tantray – be immolated for the alleged offence. The sheer barbarity of the incident came in for intense criticism from Kashmiris on the social media.

The incident occurred in the backdrop of separatist leaders calling for a shutdown on Saturday to protest alleged incidents of miscreants chopping off women’s braids.

A police spokesperson said the mob caught hold of the alleged braid chopper at a fruit market. By the time law-enforcement personnel reached the spot, he had been beaten up ruthlessly. “Some people were even trying to run a tractor over him,” the spokesperson said.

Tantray was shifted to a Srinagar hospital in a critical state. Police have registered an FIR, and the culprits have been identified.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted a picture of the victim’s bloodied face along with the following text: “(Chief minister) Mehbooba Mufti, please look at this face. This is what happens when you absolve yourself of the responsibility to lead and let vigilantes take over.”

Alleged incidents of braid chopping – a phrase used to describe the mysterious phenomenon of several women claiming that unknown men attacked them and cut off their hair – have thrown Kashmir into a state of chaos.

On Thursday, a mob thrashed a suspected braid chopper in Hazratbal area and attempted to drown him in Dal Lake. A video that emerged later showed a few people trying to dunk the man into the water body.

“The man, who had come to meet his brother at the Kashmir University, wanted to offer prayers at the Hazratbal shrine. That was when a group of people accused him of being a braid chopper and began beating him. Timely action prevented them from drowning him in the lake,” police said in a statement.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who called for the Saturday shutdown, termed the braid chopping incidents as “a planned conspiracy by Indian forces” and criticised the state police for failing to nab the culprits.