August 2001 News

Dress code voluntary: LeT

9 August 2001
The Times of India

Srinagar: The Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit on Thursday denied having resorted to punitive measures to impose a dress code in Kashmir. The announcement follows severe public resentment against the militants for spraying acid on four young women for not wearing burqas in public and the appearance of a gunman in a local girls higher secondary school to enforce the dress code. However, a lesser known militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Jabar, has instructed people in the Valley to adhere to a strict dress code by August 15. Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman Abu Marsad, laying emphasis on the purdah by Muslim women, told local journalists over the phone that the his outfit did not believe in coercive measures to implement the dress code. The Lashkar believes in motivation than forcible reformation of the society, he said. In another development, the newly created Lashkar-e-Jabar has warned the people to observe the dress code that required all Muslim women and girls to wear burqas in public. It also instructed men to sport beards and wear salwar-kameez by August 15. Meanwhile, fearing reprisal for not wearing burqas, hundreds of young girls abstained from school on Thursday. The prices of burqas and abhayias have shot up to Rs 1,700-Rs 2,200 each due to their growing demand in the Valley. Principals of many boys schools have instructed their students to wear skull caps. In fact, boys at the British Private School here were seen wearing caps in keeping with the militants'' orders. However, Jamait-e-Islami chief Gulam Mohammad Bhat said no one could force people to adopt purdah. ''It was as good as painting a canvas with water colours which would come off with just a few drops of rain,'' he said. Even today, the cinema halls and liquor shops in the Valley remain closed due to a Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front diktat issued back in January 1990.


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