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Women have been preyed on for various reasons, be it for their golden chains, purses or looks by thieves and rapists, but women in Haryana are being targeted for an entirely different reason; their long locks. Mysterious attackers have been chopping off the braids of women, leaving them otherwise unharmed.
In Haryana's Mewat village, at least 15 incidents of braids being chopped off have been reported. Villagers have been blaming the incidents on everything from witches and ghosts to 'cat-like creatures' and godmen. Police meanwhile have blamed the incidents on 'anti-social elements'. According to reports, most women fall unconscious and wake up to find their braids missing.
Gurgaon resident Sunita Devi described how she lost her braid when she was attacked by a strange looking man when she was alone in her house.
“While I was preparing dinner in the kitchen, I saw a thin man in a red and yellow outfit on the main entrance of my house. When I went to enquire, I saw he was carrying a trident. I told him to go away. He went away and disappeared only to reappear,” she claimed.
Before Sunita could do anything she fell unconscious, and when she woke up she was lying on the floor and her braid had been chopped off. Her house was not ransacked and she suffered from no external wounds but was admitted to a private hospital due to trauma.
Aseena reported a similar incident from Malhaka village, that she fell unconscious and when she woke up her hair had been chopped off.
“I’m feeling scared,” Aseena said.
In the wake of such incidents, women have been asked to tie their hair in buns instead of in brains. Women have taken to going around in groups out of fear, even if they have to fetch water outside. Patrol parties have been formed to nab those responsible.
“We have assigned our male members or family heads to patrol on a daily basis in two shifts. They are to stay alert 24X7 in order to combat the gang, animal or ghost, whatever it may be, responsible,” Ram Mehar Yadav, a resident of Punahana said.