August 2001 News

Price Of Burqas shoot up in Valley

10 August 2001
The Times of India

Srinagar: Hundreds of schoolgirls did not go to school following the Lashkar-e- Jabar instructions on dress code and its August 15 deadline. The price of burqas and abhayias have shot up to Rs 1,700-Rs 2,200 in the Valley owing to the growing demand. Though following public outcry, Lashkar-e-Taiba backtracked on Thursday regarding their dress code announcement, the newly-created group, Lashkar-e-Jabar, came up with their own stringent Taliban-like standards. All Muslim women and girls are to wear burqas in public. The men are required to sport beards and wear salwar-kameez. The group expects ready compliance by August 15. Fear of forcible implementation has driven people to disgruntled obeyance. While girls, unable to afford the spiralling prices of burqas, have stopped going to school, principals of many boys'' schools have already instructed their students to wear skull caps. In fact, boys at the city''s British Private School were seen wearing caps in keeping with the militants'' orders. Earlier, militants had sprayed acid on four young women for not wearing burqas in public and a gunman had made an appearance in a local girls higher secondary school to enforce the dress code. Meanwhile, laying emphasis on the purdah by Muslim women, Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman Abu Marsad told 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. Notwithstanding the Lashkar-e-Jabar announcement, Jamait-e- Islami chief Gulam Mohammad Bhat, too, 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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