Radicals in Kashmir issue dress code for tourists
At a time when Kashmir is well on its way to receiving a record number of tourists, the Jamaat-e-Islami has issued a dress code for visitors. The hardline outfit has "advised" visitors, especially foreigners, to "dress properly and respect local ethos".Updated: Jul 05, 2012 12:56 IST
At a time when Kashmir is well on its way to receiving a record number of tourists, the Jamaat-e-Islami has issued a dress code for visitors. The hardline outfit has "advised" visitors, especially foreigners, to "dress properly and respect local ethos".
"Some tourists, mostly foreigners, are seen wandering in miniskirts and other objectionable dresses, which is not acceptable to the civil society," said Jamaat's Zahid Ali.
Azim Tuman, president of the houseboat owners' association, was not impressed with the Jamaat advice. "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.
President, Houseboat Owners Association, Azim Tuman agreed that tourists were to respect the culture of the place they visited. He, however, was not impressed by the 'concern' of Jamaat.
"I want to remind my respected brothers that how many of our women folk, our daughters and sisters, adhere to the Islamic dress code," he said adding, "First we need to correct ourselves, only then we can address others." Manager of a hotel on the banks of Dal Lake, where most of the hotels are situated, countering the religious organisation's diktat, said, "The fact is that tourists visiting valley are very aware and respect the sensibilities of people here."
"There may be a negligible percentage of visitors who are unaware and they immediately modify once requested."
"It is also a fact that we can't do without tourists. Thousands of families are dependent on tourism," he said. "But if the tourists will cross the line, we will be the first to protest," he added. But some support the stand of Jamaat. "While in Rome, do as the Romans do. In France, our women folk are forced to remove veil, so why can't we enforce a proper dress code as per our definition of being civilised," said a doctor of a government hospital not wishing to be named.
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 Ali. "The tourism department authorities will not encourage this cultural aggression against Kashmiri Muslims and remain vigilant against those elements who, in the garb of promoting tourism, are in fact promoting vulgarity, alcoholism, drug-traffic and other immoral activities," added Ali.