Kashmir College Principal Beaten Up, Told To Enfore Hijab

28 August 2009

New Delhi: Moral policing is again on the rise in Kashmir. The principal of a co-ed college in Sopore has been threatened with serious consequences if he doesn’t enforce the Islamic dress code to the 3,000 women students within three days. Fifty-five-year-old Mohammad Ashraf Peer says he was abducted by seven armed men, thrashed and detained for several hours. “Their message was that Islamic dress code should be enforced in college. I believe they have called many other principals in the area and given the same orders,” Peer said. This is the first major instance of moral policing in more than a year. In the early ‘90s during the initial years of militancy, women were strictly asked to observe the purda. But most Kashmiri women ignored that diktat. Then, more recently most women again resisted a move by Dukhtaran-e-Millat leader Asiya Andrabi to impose the hijab. And this time as well the women students are defiant. “The way they handled our principal was wrong. If they wanted the veil to be enforced they should have come and asked us. Next they will force this diktat on our teachers then to us, this is unacceptable,” a student said. Meanwhile, the police have started an investigation. They say there could also be a non-militancy angle. The separatists have so far remained silent over the matter.