SRINAGAR: With the Hurriyat calling for protests today against ‘braid-chopping’, an angry mob assaulted and later tried to set ablaze a middle-aged male, described by police as “mentally unsound”, in north Kashmir’s Sopore after mistaking him for a braid-chopper.

Officials and witnesses the victim, Waseem Ahmad, a resident of Baramulla district, was rescued today morning by police near fruit mandi from a mob that mistook him for a braid-chopper, prompting violent clashes during which police fired teargas and pellets to break the mob.

Senior superintendent of police, Sopore, Harmeet Singh said a mob of around 600-700 people surrounded the victim and later tried to set him on fire.

“They (mob) had set grass on fire and were planning to burn him on a tractor. He is mentally unsound and has been seen by locals roaming around in villages. He has been referred to Srinagar in a critical state,” Singh said.

The SSP said the police has identified the instigators with the help of some videos filmed live when the victim was being beaten, and later circulated on social media, “We have registered an FIR into the incident,” he said.

Sopore remains tense after the clashes between locals and government forces with a complete shutdown being observed in parts of the police district amid anti-India and pro-freedom sloganeering breaking out in the area.

Authorities have imposed restrictions have in downtown Srinagar today while security has been stepped up in sensitive places of the Valley to foil the Hurriyat-sponsored protest today against the ‘braid-chopping’ incidents that have terrorised the population.

“Restrictions have been imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar to prevent any law and order disturbances. Additional law enforcement forces have been deployed to thwart any disturbance,” a senior Srinagar district administration official said.

The Jamia Masjid from whose pulpit Mirwaiz used to deliver Friday sermon, has also been closed, “There will be no Friday prayers at the mosque today,” the official said.

Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani has been placed under house arrest while Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who had planned to address the Friday congregation at the historic Sheikh Noor-ud-Din (RA) shrine in central Kashmir’s Charari Sharief town, was detained at his home.

Meanwhile, Hajin town in north Kashmir is observing a spontaneous shutdown after youth allegedly pelted stones at a patrolling party of the Army in the area, sparking off clashes between youth and government forces.

Police and paramilitary forces resorted to massive teargas shelling to disperse the youth, who were pelting stones at the Army, prompting closure of shops and other business in the area.