Posters, attributed to militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, have appeared in parts of Kashmir warning the migrant population to leave the Valley by October 25. The police, however, dismissed the posters as a “mischief” in the wake of increasing incidents of mysterious braid-chopping incidents in the state. “The non-locals mostly work here as labourers. It seems someone has played a mischief,” Director General of Police S P Vaid said. With an increase in braid-chopping incidents over the past month, self-appointed vigilante groups have surfaced in parts of Kashmir who beat up people suspecting them to be the perpetrators.
These groups have largely targeted the local Kashmiri people, some migrant labourers and tourists have also been caught in the crosshairs of the vigilante groups. On October 5, a septuagenarian died after a young man hit him with a stone under the impression he was the one behind the mysterious incidents.
Police has set up special investigation teams at district levels to investigate the cases of braid chopping and announced a reward of Rs 6 lakh for information leading to the arrest of the culprits, but has so far failed to make any headway. Police officials claim non-cooperation of victims in their investigation as one of the reasons for the unsolved cases. In some cases, though, it has come to light that people were using these incidents as an excuse to settle scores.
Vaid earlier this week said a mass hysteria was being generated by vested interests to whip up tension in the Valley. According to the police, more than 100 braid-chopping incidents have been reported, out of which 63 were related to people who were either being treated for mental illness or were under the influence of local godmen. Separatists and militant groups in the Valley have blamed security agencies for orchestrating braid-chopping incidents for creating panic among the people.