World Bulletin / News Desk
As the Indian-backed government imposed restrictions to thwart possible resistance-led protests, the assaults took on a larger dimension in the dispute over the region.
According to police, at least 100 incidents of braid chopping have been reported from throughout the region in the last month. Despite a large reward offer, no arrests have been made so far.
Most of the victims say that they were attacked in their houses by masked assailants who cut their hair, with some saying they were first sprayed with chemicals and made unconscious.
Amid the fear and paranoia spurred by the assaults, hundreds of vigilante groups have sprung up wielding axes, iron rods, and sticks. The vigilantism has so far resulted in the killing of one 70-year-old civilian in southern Kashmir when his neighbor, mistaking him for a braid-chopper, hit his head with a rock.
Other assaults of suspected braid-choppers have been reported, including a group of backpackers who had to be rescued from a mob.
“I don’t go out of my home after 7.30 anymore,” Asif Nazir, a computer professional, told Anadolu Agency.
“I haven’t been so afraid in a long time to walk around in the evenings as I have been over this past month.”