‘Braid choppers’ still on the prowl The Jammu and Kashmir police on Saturday blamed “radical elements” and detained a worker of a political party for raising “false alarms of braid-chopping”, as the Valley observed a shutdown in protest against the forcible cutting of women’s hair.The police said an investigation in north Kashmir had revealed that miscreants who attacked women this way had three objectives.Also Read “It is aimed at disturbing peace; creating animosity between people and security forces, especially the police; and creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for women to confine them to home so that the radical religious agenda of these elements is realised,” a Srinagar-based police spokesman said.The police said some 45 “trouble-mongers” had been identified in Baramulla. Of them, many raised slogans supporting Zakir Musa (who heads Al-Qaeda’s Kashmir cell) “to make their intentions public”.18 arrested for attackThe Baramulla police said they had arrested 18 persons “involved in the attack on three territorial Army men” on October 18. “A notorious stone-thrower, Qaiser Bilal Bhat, had hatched a conspiracy to get Army men killed by falsely accusing them of being braid-choppers,” the police said.On the 12 braid-chopping incidents in Baramulla, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Imtiyaz Hussain said, “Some occurred within the four walls of victims’ houses. One of the victims was consulting a psychiatrist. There are some radical elements who don’t want women to be given a free hand. They want to stop women from pursuing education and government and private jobs and this is happening right now.”Party supporter heldThe police, meanwhile, said a person who faked braid-chopping at Dooru in Anantnag had been detained.“The person, having allegiance to a political party, had tried to create law-and-order problems by enacting the drama of hair chopping,” the police said.In a separate incident, the people of Thokarpora village in Pulwama attacked a five-member group of Hizbul Mujahideen on Friday night. When the people stopped the militants for questioning, they opened fire in the air and escaped.Youth injuredA young man was injured in clashes in Srinagar on Saturday during the shutdown.The youth was allegedly hit by bullets as protesters clashed with security forces in the Nowgam area. All educational institutions, offices, markets and petrol pumps remained closed in the wake of the Hurriyat call for a shutdown.The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) criticised the government for failing to “stop such incidents”.“Why has the State government miserably failed to investigate and demystify the plaguing menace that has disturbed the social order,” asked CPI(M) MLA M.Y. Tarigami.