Members of a civil society group on Thursday held a sit-in at Pratap Park here against the mysterious braid chopping incidents across Kashmir.
The sit-in was held under the banner of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS). The protestors carried placards that read "braid chopping is shameful on the part of perpetrators."
The protesters blamed government for its "shoddy investigation" and for making "contradictory statements" on braid chopping.
"On one side government says it is mass hysteria, and on other it announces rewards for those who catch hold of the culprits," they said.
Journalist and activist Anuradha Bhasin said "a common feeling which has been growing is that braid chopping was tested in other cities before being tried in Kashmir".
"People in Kashmir suspect some agencies are behind braid chopping. This suspicion is growing with each passing day.
People in Kashmir have been given a feeling that New Delhi looks at them with so much of contempt that braid chopping seems to be another weapon they are being attacked with. There is a certain pattern to braid chopping as it moved from Haryana, Rajasthan to UP and then Jammu, Rajouri, Doda and now Kashmir. If it is hysteria then this would not move across cities?," Bhasin questioned.
Bhasin said a proper investigation, as a part of which medical examination of braid chopping victims could be conducted is missing. " No forensic samples from the spot of incident are being collected and if it is hysteria then how can it affect a certain economic section of the society and how could there be hundreds of cases?," Bhasin said.
Civil society member, Syed Shakeel Qalander said, "an important role lies on the societal level to register their protest against braid chopping. Qalander said a round-table will be organised soon to discuss various ways to counter growing incidents of braid chopping.
"We will get advice from the experts on how to tackle this problem on the societal level whether it is at area wise or mohalla wise level. Primary onus of resolving this problem lies with the state government which is in deep slumber," Qalander said.
Renowned child specialist, Dr Altaf Hussain said "government is trying to trivialize braid chopping instead of unraveling the mystery behind these incidents."
"Braid chopping is not just an assault on the body of a woman but on her dignity. This amounts to a grave human rights violation against women folk of Kashmir and this falls into a pattern. This is a trick to instill fear among people in Kashmir," Dr Altaf said.
Noted poet Zareef Ahmad Zareef, who read out poetry on the issue of braid chopping, said government has "failed" to follow its slogan of " Beti Padhao Beti Bachao".
The protest was attended by cross section of society even as the chairperson KSCDS, Hameedah Nayeem, had been put under house arrest.