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Is Braid Chopping a counter insurgency tactic or mass hysteria?

Is Braid Chopping a counter insurgency tactic or mass hysteria?
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Peerzada Mahboob Ul Haq

Braid and Chopping! Had it been just a question asked in an English examination, which conceivably could have dropped our percentage by 2 marks, for we were not conversant with these mere words, but Alas but not Alas! In hunt of those two marks we involuntarily drove our approach towards somewhere netherworld. Now those 2 marks are not only two marks, they carry 20 marks in the form of an essay, and thanks but no thanks! Writing an essay over BRAID and CHOPPING is much meeker and easier than writing their meaning in one word.
Why is braid being chopped?
Thinking as an unoccupied  and unsuppressed and obviously out of the box of the occupation and occupation of mind as well, this question hangs onto haunting me when I go to bed. It keeps me trouncing severely when I sip tea. It goes on hypnotising me when there are many around. Does this mean it will make me a patient of mass hysteria and I will do self-chopping? Does it? It doesn’t.
From last couple of months, Kashmir has countersigned a new card drawn out of a spectrum of a long going political conflict to which reaction from masses is substantiating into more dangerous facet. It is generating fear psychosis among common masses, who were brave until now and now can not even dare to carry a simple razor in their pockets or go out of after dusk. As the cards are drawn from the spectrum so does the beliefs, analysis, probes etc. There are many parties who make this spectrum and confusing. The braid chopping began from the southern part of the Kashmir, which is considered as the hub and nucleus of the present resistance movement, where militancy is as at peak as it was in 90’s rather across the Kashmir and after the killing of Burhan Wani it grew into new chapter and now it is south Kashmir which utterly provided room to this new chapter and it got well settled. With the settlement of these rebels, it sent shockwaves round the corners of the centre in New Delhi. On regular basis Army was dominantly taken out from the standby mode, there were encounters all across. In order to put some sort of end to this, centre with their intelligence heads launched the Operation All-out, intended and objected to completely exterminate militancy from Kashmir, but this operation utterly failed in achieving what it was tossed for. So, plots designed physically by centre were ostensibly failing at every step. Now centre looked for the psychosomatic substitutes, which came to them in the form of braid chopping, which completely knocked Kashmir for six. It is corroborating more perilous than extermination, creating fear psychosis. As discussed earlier, besides being not able to come out from the home after dusk, its making people to beat and flog even innocent bystanders for no culpability of theirs. This is turning Kashmir into hell. Even tourists were not spared, but ultimately we can’t blame people for all this clutter, it is modestly response to stimuli.

Now there is one set of people who are every so often tagged as ‘extremists’ and who solely blame the state for not providing sanctuary and blame the state. One of the critics for state goes like this, ‘Incidents of braid chopping, in a conflict zone, like Kashmir, should be vehemently blamed upon the occupational state, for three interlocked reasons. One; the so-called security apparatus is theirs and theirs only. The incidents perpetuated against a dissenting people can easily be carried out by anyone, particularly the collaborators, when state is in dire need to build up even an iota of support among the psychologically targeted people. Second; in a panoptical like structure, as Kashmir has been reduced to, due to heavy military presence and sweeping information networks, nothing is possible to be carried out, without state noticing it. Finally, these incidents don’t seem to reveal any particular reason for a non-state actor (militants or even terrorist organizations, if there are any) to carry out these abominable crimes against people. Every organisation, other than the state of course, tends to send a direct message of their presence and capability by admitting to and bragging about carrying out operations like these.’
Now comes the other set who seem to be ‘moderate’ or not or even moderate in moderate, but state apparatus, came up with the idea of golden mean. After getting no clue who the braid choppers are, they tend to divert the attention of the innocent people from political mirage to psychological mirage, in which they blame braid chopping as the derivative of mass hysteria, which unhitched when an Imam’s beard was chopped, and their concept of so called golden mean failed in achieving the goal of boot licking.
But question still hangs on, who the braid choppers are? Who is doing it or who is sponsoring it? Is it a question or interrogation that has occupied every one of us? Who is going to uncover it? Obviously the state which is on a standby and seems to be providing free hand to these perpetrators. What does not make difference to you makes difference to us. We want to keep the braid and save the people as well. We can not compromise on either. The failed state and the brutal mob both need a change.

Author hails from Drugmulla Kupwara. He is presently pursuing BA Hons in Political Science at Aligarh Muslim University and can be reached at 

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not reflect the stand or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.

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