Braid-chopping incidents: Residents press panic button


AmritsarPosted at: Aug 15, 2017, 1:09 AM; last updated: Aug 15, 2017, 1:09 AM (IST)

Many residents have tied red bands on their wrists to keep ‘evil spirits’ away as braid-chopping incidents rise in the region. Sunil Kumar

PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 14

As the braid-cutting hysteria spreads like wildfire, people, especially belonging to the lower-middle class or economically poor section, have pressed the panic button.
They believe it is the handiwork of some evil spirits. To get rid of it, they have been adopting various means to keep these ‘evil spirits’ away.
Darshna Rani (name changed) in the Islmabad area has tied a red band formed of cloth with clove and hing (Asafoetida), besides hanging a bunch of Neem leaves on her hand. Similar red band was also tied on the right hand of her daughter and son.
When asked why she had tied such band, initially she hesitated a bit. Later, she added that she had adopted a way to keep the evil spirits away.
“Have you not heard about the braid chopping? It is all handiwork of upri hawa (evil spirits),” she added.
However, Taraksheel Society is not convinced with this at all. Sumit Singh, district president of the society, termed the braid-chopping instances in the region the result of psychological disorder.
“There are no super natural powers or evil spirits behind such instances. These instances are the outcome of deep desires of women of low income groups who wanted to get their hair cut. But they are afraid of doing so due to the social and family pressure,” he pointed out.
The society opined that several unscrupulous elements were spreading misinformation in society due to their vested interests. Sumit urged the people to adopt scientific ways. He advised them not to get influenced by fraudsters. The society also appealed to district administrations and psychologists to investigate the instances.
A couple of braid-cutting instances were reported in Amritsar and Tarn Taran areas. The authorities said nothing concrete had come out during the investigations. They said it might be the handiwork of some unscrupulous elements.

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