Protesters clash with police over braid chopping in Kashmir

Srinagar, Oct 16: Clashes broke out today between protesters and security forces in Maisuma area of Srinagar as local residents took to streets against the rising incidents of braid chopping in Kashmir, police said.
Dozens of local residents of Maisuma locality in the commercial hub of Srinagar city held a protest demonstration against the continued incidents of braid chopping in the Valley, a police official said.
He said the protesters turned violent when police asked them to disperse peacefully and started pelting stones at the law enforcement personnel.
Police fired several tear smoke shells to chase away the protesters, he said.
The clashes caused disruption in normal activities as shopkeepers downed their shutters while traffic along the Maulana Azad Road-Budshah Chowk axis was diverted through other routes.
The recent mysterious braid chopping episodes have triggered panic in the Valley. The incidents are being claimed by the separatists as the handiwork of central agencies to divert attention from their anti-national agenda and demand of ‘Azadi’.
However, in a number of cases the police have found that people have used the excuse to escape from their own troubles.
According to the police, nearly 103 such incidents have taken place, out of which 63 are related to people who are either taking treatment for mental illness or under the influence of local god-men.