Monday, August 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hurriyat condemns dress code
Women don burqa to avoid trouble
College girls
Changed life-style: College girls adhering to the dictates of hitherto unknown Lashker-e-Jabbar militant outfit which asked Kashmiri women to use purdah (veil) outside their houses. PTI photo

Srinagar, August 12
Amid growing resentment against the forcible implementation of the dress code, several front-ranking militant outfits today joined the Hurriyat Conference to condemn the campaign, describing it as an attempt to “malign the ongoing movement” in Kashmir.

Dissociating themselves from threats on the dress code, the Hizbul Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba condemned the elements involved in the acid attack on women to enforce “purdah” in Srinagar and other parts of the valley.

Panic gripped Kashmiri women when a group of unidentified persons claiming to be activists of the hitherto unknown “Lashkar-e-Jabbar” militant outfit, attacked four women with acid in downtown Srinagar recently to kick off the controversial burqa campaign.

The attack on the women was preceded by isolated incidents of firing by unidentified militants on unveiled women in South Kashmir in the past two months which left three women injured in their legs.

The campaign, which was witnessed in the early phase of militancy in 1990 when activists of women’s organisation Dukhtaran-e-Milat threw coloured water on unveiled women in Srinagar city in an unsuccessful attempt to force them to use burqa, has caused a scare across the valley, particularly in the city.

The burqa campaign has now become the talk of everyone and rumours coupled with threats have changed the lifestyle of most of the women who had accepted the diktat and covered themselves with the veil to avoid “unnecessary problems”.

Though resentment among the people against the campaign is there, the change among the women, including college going girls and working women, is evident on the city streets.

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) disowned the statement attributed to it asking women to wear the veil.

“Lashkar believes that people should adhere to the principles of Islam, particularly in these times, but we will not insist on men to sport beard or on women to use a veil,” Lashkar spokesman Abdul Mursad said in a statement.

Describing the recent incidents of acid throwing on women as deplorable, the spokesman said the aim of those involved in such activities is to malign the outfit and there is no room for such acts in Islam.

In a separate statement, the Hizbul Mujahideen said there was no militant group by the name of Lashkar-e-Jabbar and the activities being carried out in its name signified a deep conspiracy against the “Kashmiris’ freedom movement”.

The Hizb would undertake planned actions to expose the moves, the statement said.

“Islam does not believe in coercion nor can the religious injunctions be enforced through threats and suppression,” the Hizb said, adding that the faith described a proper method and code of conduct in which the Ulema had the key role.

A spokesman of another radical militant outfit, the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, said the criminal acts of threatening women and sprinkling acid on them were condemnable and those involved in these were enemies of the movement.

Senior executive member of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, reacted sharply to the incidents of acid throwing on unveiled women.

Addressing a Friday congregation in Jamia Masjid on August 10, the Mirwaiz came down heavily on the so-called reformer describing their actions as inhuman and barbaric. PTI

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