Six foreign tourists, who had lost their way in Srinagar, were rescued by the Jammu and Kashmir Police from a mob which suspected them for ‘braid-choppers’ on Sunday.
The tourists — three Australians and one person each from England, South Korea and Ireland — were on their way to Srinagar from Leh in a vehicle when they lost their way while using Google Maps, a police official said.
On reaching Kanikachi Lati locality in Rainawari area of the city, the tourist group was stopped by a group of locals. Later, people started gathering at the spot suspecting that they were ‘braid-choppers’.
The taxi driver abandoned the group at the spot fearing harm from the locals.
Some locals tried to protect the tourists and called the police which rescued them from the spot.
They were lodged in a nearby hotel and were later seen off to their next destination, the official said.
Several incidents of ‘braid-chopping’ have been reported in Kashmir, leaving the valley on edge.
On 6 October, a 70-year-old man was stoned to death by a mob in the Anantnag district of South Kashmir, after being suspected as the ‘braid-chopper’.
The incident was reported in the Danter village of Anantnag where the elderly man Abdul Salam Wani was beaten to death with bricks as a mob “mistook” him for a ‘braid-chopper’ when he came out of his house early morning to answer the call of nature.
On 6 October, three locals were also on rescued by the police when mobs at two places, in Srinagar, tried to lynch them.
The case of harassment of tourist comes at a time when the BJP government at the Centre and the Jammu and Kasshmir government are trying to revive tourism in the state.
Foreign tourists were for the past several years keeping away from Kashmir as almost all countries have issued advisory to their citizens against visiting the valley that was in the grip of terrorism. Efforts of the J&K government to get these advisories withdrawn have not yielded positive results.
(With agency inputs)