As the buzz about the mysterious braid chopper peaked in Haryana, Arshad Khan, a singer from Bisru village in Gurgaon, composed a song and uploaded it to YouTube on Monday. The song, titled Chotiyan Katne Ka Sach (The truth behind braid-chopping), was viewed more than 2,00,000 times within just 48 hours. It has become so popular that 25-year-old Khan now identifies himself as Arshad Singer Bisru. He had earlier composed songs on the lynching of Pehlu Khan by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan and the murder of Junaid Khan on a train in Haryana. Both songs were critically acclaimed, he said, but neither became quite as popular as his latest hit.

“I composed the song when an incident happened in my own village last week,” he said of his hair-chopping song. “She is a 15-year-old Muslim girl. What I have seen is that both Hindus and Muslims have been victims of the braid chopper. I can see some foreign conspiracy in this.”

Villagers elders discuss the mystery.
Villagers elders discuss the mystery.
Image: Abhishek Dey

Unusual suspects

In Delhi’s Kangan Heri village, a group of old men huddled in the house of one of the complainants, discussing the incidents. The popular view linked them to alleged “occultists” from West Bengal who have settled in villages near Chhawla, Najafgarh, Palam and Kapashera in southwest Delhi over the last five years. One of the elders suggested that such a “large-scale mysterious development” could be Pakistan’s doing. The others nodded.

Most of the villagers spoke with said they were aware of similar cases in Rajasthan and Haryana and had dismissed them as rumours. But then their own village was hit.

Vimla Devi, worried about the evil spirit on the loose, argued with her daughter-in-law over whether they should send the children to school the next day. One of the complainants is Devi’s neighbour. “After Sunday’s incident, hardly any villager has dared to step out of their house,” she said. “Though most men went for work today, the elderly villagers have decided that women and children should stay indoors until the evil spirit is warded off. My daughter-in-law is too concerned about her children’s education to understand that.”

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