Police Detain Woman Separatist In Indian Kashmir
18 January 2007
Srinagar: Police in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir on Thursday detained the head of a women's separatist group after she raided a cyber cafe to stop what she called 'immoral activities', a police official said. Asiya Andrabi, wife of a militant leader and chief of the Dukhtaran- e-Milat (Daughters of the Muslim Faith), was detained along with six other activists when they stormed the cyber cafe in Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. 'She can't raid cyber cafes, restaurants and hotels and harass men and women. We have detained her,' a police spokesman said. During the raid, Dukhtaran-e-Milat activists questioned boys and girls on what they were doing in the crowded Internet cafe and why they were sitting together. Reuters Pictures Photo Editors Choice: Best pictures from the last 24 hours. View Slideshow Veiled from head-to-toe in black, Dukhtaran-e-Milat's 'Maryam Squad', named after the Virgin Mary, has in the past raided several suspected brothels and wine shops that the group says are encouraged by Indian authorities. Officials deny the charge. 'We will continue our struggle against immoral activities,' Andrabi said before her arrest. The group, which became active in Kashmir in the early 1990s after it launched a campaign against 'obscenity' in public places, has also raided restaurants and hotels to stamp out the 'flesh trade.' Beauty parlours, cinemas and wine shops were closed in Kashmir in 1989 after a Muslim insurgency broke out against Indian rule, killing tens of thousands. Authorities later allowed a cinema and two wine shops to open in Srinagar, along with dozens of beauty parlours. In new violence, Indian troops killed four separatist militants in an overnight gunbattle in the south of the region.