Women stay indoors as burqa deadline nears
31 August 2001
The Times of India
SALEEM PANDIT TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR: With the deadline for wearing burqas imposed by the militant outfit Laskhar-e-Jabbar approaching, most of the women have decided to stay indoors on Saturday to avoid any acid attacksDukhtaran-e-Milat, the lone supporter of burqa campaign has asked the outfit to extend the deadline to September 10 to enable women to get burqa or Abaya from tailors. The Milat spokesperson has also asked the cloth merchants to lower the prices of burqa cloth to help the poor.Mahbooba Jan, a working lady, fearing humiliation on the streets has decided to remain on leave from the office on Saturday as she was not able to get her burqa stitched from the tailor on Friday in view of the Hurriyat-sponsored bandh here.''It may be true that several militant outfits, including Hizbul and LeT have distanced themselves from the burqa campaign but some miscreants would make the life hell on the streets for women. So I have decided to wear one,'' she said. Mehbooba Mufti, the lone Kashmiri woman mainstream politician and vice- president of Peoples Democratic Party said during all these years the women in Kashmir had suffered at the hands of the militants. But they won''t be taking dictats from the militant outfits anymore.Moulana Abas Ansar, prominent Shia cleric and Hurriyat leader has strongly condemned the burqa campaign and termed it unjustified. He said during the recent Hurriyat meet that forcible imposition of pardah on women would alienate people from the freedom struggle. Students at the Presentation Convent here have been instructed by school authorities to wear Islamic dress and have even been asked to keep a safe distance from the boundary walls of the school during day time to escape any acid attacks by the miscreants. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has asked the police to remain vigilant against any acid attacks on women. The Station House Officer of any police station under whose jurisdiction any acid attack occurs would be placed under suspension, sources said.