Entry of non-local labourers, strangers banned into Gandoh as ‘mysterious’ braid chopping incidents continue

M Majid Malik


Authorities in Gandoh tehsil of Doda district in Chenab valley have temporarily banned the entry of outside labourers and the gathering of more than five persons by imposing the Section 144 to “prevent” braid-chopping incidents in the area.

Sub-divisional magistrate, Gandoh Dil Mir Choudhary ordered an immediate two-month ban on the entry of outside labourers and strangers and also directed police to lodge FIR and investigate the braid chopping incidents in the area.

“I, Dil Mir Choudhary (KAS) authorized by section 144 of CrPC , do hereby impose ban on the entry of strangers/unknown persons, pheriwalas, baazigars, Pathans, scent sellers, sadhus, beggars, babas, labourers and street hackers from outside the state without prior permission of the magistrate for period of two months,” said an order, issued by SDM .

At least one dozen cases of braid chopping have been reported to the Doda Police, including six from Bhaderwah, four from Assar, two from Khara, two from Charlla, three from Doda, one from Marmat and two from Gandoh during past two weeks.

The fear psychosis over braid-cutting incidents has given rise to superstitions among people who are thronging markets to purchase black threads, yellow mustards seeds and other things as prescribed by priests. This has led to shortage of these products in the market. People throng to priests and religious leaders for protection from such incidents, who guide them to tie some thread, yellow mustard seeds or other things which will apparently protect them from braid-cutting.

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