Kashmir rebels order dress code for Hindus, Sikhs
9 September 2001
The Asian Age
Srinagar: A shadowy rebel group which sprayed acid on women in Kashmir for violating an Islamic dress code has asked minority Hindu and Sikh women of the troubled region to dress differently from Muslims. ''For identification the Hindu women should wear bindi (coloured dot) on their forehead and Sikh women are requested to cover their heads with saffron-coloured cloth,'' a statement of Lashkar-e-Jabar said. The statement was issued to newspaper offices in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir late on Saturday. Thousands of Muslim women in the strife-torn scenic Himalayan valley have begun wearing veils after the little known militant Lashkar-e-Jabar assaulted two women. ''For the implementation of the order on Muslim women, it is necessary to differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim women,'' the group said added. Some 50,000 Hindus and about an equal number of Sikhs are estimated to be living in the bloodied Kashmir Valley. A majority of the Hindus, estimated to be about 300,000 have fled the valley since the revolt by Muslim rebels broke out in late 1989. The request by the Lashkar-e-Jabar is almost similar to the order by Afghanistan''s Taliban rulers in May for the country''s non-Muslim minorities to wear a distinctive badge on their clothes when they go out of doors.