rinagar, Oct 20: The braid chopping mania in the Valley has taken a new and ugly turn. In incidents similar to the medieval times, in which women suspected of being witches would be torched, a young man with a slight mental illness was almost burnt to death by angry mob in Sopore on Friday.
In Srinagar, another mob caught a young man suspected to be involved in braid chopping. This man was stripped and thrown in waters of Dal Lake with few attempts being made at drowning him.
The bone chilling videos of both the incidents went viral on social media on Friday morning.
The scenes from the Sopore incident, clearly the more disturbing of the two, had a young man bruised and bleeding while a mob lit a small fire around him with chants of ‘burn him burn him’ being heard in the background.
While the mob went about lighting the fire, the young man sits on helplessly, bleeding with many sounds of laughter being heard from the crowd.
As this boy lies half dead, another voice is heard from the crowd urging someone to get a knife so they could cut him up in pieces. Throughout this, while the boy keeps saying that he did nothing, the mob, now smelling blood, keep scouting ‘burn him burn him’.
Eyewitnesses say that had the Police not arrived in the nick of time, the boy would have been burnt to death.
Minutes after the incident, THE SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain wrote this on his Facebook wall: “This mentally unsound boy Omar Tantary from Shrakwara, Baramulla (suffering from mental trauma with aftereffects of ostracism after the death of his mother) would have been burnt alive in Sopore, if police had not rescued him. He is critical and admitted in hospital. Rest in Peace Humanity in Kashmir. THERE ARE NO BRAID CHOPPERS THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. IT’S A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE. PLEASE DON’T KILL ANYBODY.”
The unfortunate boy now identified as Waseem Ahmad, a resident of Shrakwara area of Baramulla is lying in a hospital in a critical condition.
In a similar incident, a cop was thrashed and almost drowned by angry youth took him for a braid chopper in Srinagar.
Raees Ahmad, a special police officer (SPO) was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Raees had gone to meet his brother, who studies at the Kashmir University and had stayed over. On Thursday morning he was accosted by a group of vigilantes – a group of young boys now operating all across the valley with axes and hunting guns who now man the streets in search of braid choppers.
Raees, being an ‘outsider’ and on identification as a cop, fit the perfect image of those who were being hunted. Within minutes he was stripped and beaten. He was then put in a shikara and taken towards the deep waters.
The video shows Raees being thrown into the water with another person jumping on him and then trying to drown him. Though this time the voices from the crowd unlike Sopore shouted don’t kill him. Once again Raees was saved by a Police contingent that arrived on the spot and whisked him away.