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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Dressing down

Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, July 06, 2012
First Published: 00:25 IST(6/7/2012) | Last Updated: 01:38 IST(6/7/2012)

The Jamaat-e-Islami issued a dress code for visitors, especially foreigners, saying that they are "advised" to "dress properly and respect local ethos."

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The Jamaat asked the state tourism department to enforce the dress code.

"It is the duty of the tourism department officials to impress on the tourists to honour the local ethos failing which they can even force angry reaction," said Jamaat's Zahid Ali.

"Some tourists, mostly Jamaat changes stance after dress code diktat slammed foreigners, are seen wandering in miniskirts and other objectionable dresses, which is not acceptable to the civil society," said Ali.

Hindustan Times conducted a poll asking readers their views on the decision of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

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A whooping 85% of the readers reponded against the Jamaat-e-Islami's dress code diktat for the tourists in Kashmir. While, 15% of the respondents were in agreement to the question.

Fixty six percent felt that its decision will affect tourism in Kashmir leading to a decline in the number of tourists. Whereas, 44% said that the numbers would not change.

Nearly, 68% of the respondents agreed that tourists should be mindfull of local culture while visiting a place and 21% disagreed while 12% of them remained undecided.

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Azim Tuman, president of the houseboat owners' association, was not impressed by the 'concern' of Jamaat.

"First we need to correct ourselves, only then we can address other dimensions," he said.

The manager of a hotel on the banks of Dal Lake termed the Jamaat move draconian.

"Most tourists are sensitive and don't need such advice," he added.

But a day after Jamaat-e-Islami issued a dress code advisory for tourists, it changed its tone amid public outcry saying "it not was threatening to enforce any dress code; it was just an appeal".

"We are not enforcing any dress code as is being project by the media. We are just making an appeal to respect local sensibilities. We have no issues with jeans or tops but dresses like miniskirts should be avoided… Our main cause of worry is growing alcoholism among our youth because of public consumption of the same at tourist places," Jamaat spokesman Zahid Ali told the Hindustan Times.

"Cultural sensitivity and common sense among tourists do not need a Jamaat thekedaari stamp. Especially not with warning undertones," said Sabbah Haji, a well-known writer, who runs a school in upper reaches of Doda.

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Echoing the same voice, several women are asking Jamaat to differentiate between modest and immodest dress code. 

"I wish the Jamaat had first looked in our society. Muslim boys are seen in revealing low-waist jeans in all mosques. Local girls are also seen wearing hijab (headscarf ) with a tight top and skinny jeans. Dress code for whom?" asked Shoaib Noor, a student of Kashmir University.

Jamaat has failed to get any support from separatist groups on forcing any dress code, including hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Most separatist leaders, whom HT approached, distanced themselves from it and preferred silence.

 

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Here is what the Twitterati had to say:


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