Hair-cutting scare sparks panic, women’s panel takes cognisance

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There is a feeling of fear among women in the rural areas of over a dozen districts of Rajasthan. Tales of women’s hair being cut off while they sleep is now giving them sleepless nights. It started from Western Rajasthan and has now spread across the state. The police have promised strict action against the culprits, but they are yet to find out who the culprits are.

Fearful people are maintaining vigil all through the night, but sleep is something that cannot be compromised with for long and people are now adopting all sorts of measures to ward off “whatever or whoever” is responsible for cutting off the hair of sleeping women.

They are seeking interventions from tantriks (occultists) and drawing trishuls and hand imprints with vermilion, turmeric and henna on the walls and also tying lemon and chilies on their main gates. Women sleep only after tying garlic pods on their arms. Some are even covering their entire face in buckets and pots while they sleep.

In this environment of fear and rumours, the Rajasthan Women’s Commission has taken cognisance of the issue and shot off a letter to all district collectors and SPs. Commission chief Suman Sharma has sought a factual report from them.

“This is a serious matter and compromises the dignity of women. Rajasthan has implemented the Dayan Act to safeguard women against superstition, tantriks and bhopas. The hair cutting rumour is a concerted effort on the part of some people with vested interests. It is a gang that is working to establish superstitious activities, women are also involved,” said Sharma.

She went on to add that she has spoken to the DGP about the matter, “Two persons have been arrested in Govindgarh and they were responsible for cutting off the hair of the women in their neighbourhood. Police have assured that the guilty will soon be booked,” Sharma added.