The autumn night is chilly and the men light a bonfire before turning to their phones for their task – protecting the locality from the scourge of what they call “braid choppers”.
“Every night we are hearing about braid-chopping incidents. Our sisters and mothers are being targeted – they are not safe even inside our homes. We can’t let this happen. We have taken it upon ourselves to safeguard their honour,” says Mohammad Hakim, one of the leaders of the vigilante group.
He continues, “Social media, especially WhatsApp has helped us connect a lot to youth who want to work against braid-choppers. For the last four days, no one in our group has slept for a minute till 4am. It’s a routine — there will be an attack attempted at one house or the other. And we have to run.”