Two new cases of braid chopping have been reported from Moradabad and another case has surfaced in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, a day after police in UP and Delhi made it clear that the cases of women’s hair being chopped were just baseless rumours. Four new cases had also been reported on Friday from Bulandshahr district. The incidents have led to an atmosphere of fear and attribution of the deed to ‘witches’ and ‘ghosts’.
On Wednesday, Mala Devi, a 60-year-old Dalit woman from Agra, died of a cardiac arrest in Mutnai hours after she was beaten with sticks and rods by two men whose house she had stumbled into, after she got lost while returning home from the fields where she had gone to relieve herself. Residents of the area told The Indian Express that the victim knew the accused and had gone to seek their help, asking them to drop her home as her eyesight was weak and she had lost her way. But the accused’s mother, Prakash Devi, said her son committed the act as they were scared Mala Devi had come to chop off their hair.
SP (City) of Bulandshahr Praveen Ranjan informed PTI on Friday that Bilkish (45) and Jaishree (24), from Younuspur, claimed that their plaits had been cut off. Another 45-year-old woman reported a similar incident from Salempur Jat while a class 9 student from Khurja became another victim of braid chopping while returning from her tuition on Friday morning, Ranjan said. Calling it an “organised propaganda”, Ranjan said the police had not yet received any written complaint related to the incidents.
Around 30 cases of braid chopping have been reported from villages in Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh. Even as the numbers keep increasing, with theories of Bogeyman, black magic, witchcraft and theft doing rounds among people, police in Delhi and UP on Friday said that reports of women’s hair being chopped were just baseless rumours with no arrests and no evidence.
With inputs from PTI and ANI