After Burqa, militants order men, women apart on buses
6 September 2001
The Indian Express
Srinagar: After threats of spraying acid on women for not adhering to Islamic dress code, militants in the Valley have now ordered men and women in the region to sit apart on buses, a newspaper said on Thursday. ''It is necessary for men and women not to sit together in buses while travelling. Bus operators are ordered to keep 50 per cent of the seats reserved only for women,'' the newspaper quoted the Lashkar-e- Jabar outfit as saying. The statement by the militant group, which until last month was little known in Kashmir, was published by the Daily Alsafa, the main Urdu-language newspaper in Kashmir. Last month, members of the group attacked two women with acid for violating the Islamic dress code. The assault spread panic among women across Kashmir and led to a sharp rise in the wearing of veils and cloaks. Last weekend, the group extended its deadline by 10 days for women to adopt the dress code. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leader of Kashmir''s main separatist alliance, urged women to adopt the dress code but said he was opposed to the use of violence to enforce the order. Earlier, Dhukhtaran-e-Milat, a Kashmiri separatist women''s group, supported the violent campaign to enforce the dress code. However, other militant groups have condemned the acid attack and blamed the assault on Indian agents seeking to discredit them. Militants banned beauty parlours, cinemas and wine shops and demanded that women adopt Islamic dress after rebellion broke out in Kashmir in 1989. But the acid attack was the first of its kind. Previously militants had sprayed paint or shot women in the legs for wearing Western-style dress.