Kashmiri Religious Group Issues Dress Code for Tourists

Srinagar: A Kashmiri religious group Jamaat-e-Islami has asked tourists visiting the valley to follow a "proper dress code" and told the tourism department to enforce it.

"Some tourists, mostly foreigners, are seen wandering in short mini-skirts and other objectionable dresses here openly, which is quite against the local ethos and culture and is not acceptable to the civil society at all," Jamaat-e-Islami said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The group said it was the duty of the tourism department to tell tourists to honour local ethos.

"Kashmiris cannot for the sake of their economy give up their divine values at any cost," it said.

"We need no such guests who can become a cause of derailing the society from the right track and spread immorality and immodesty in the name of tourism."

Zahid Ali, an advocate associated with the group, said: "Jamaat-e-Islami J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) cautions people against the well designed vicious plans of the anti-Islamic forces who are working here tirelessly to deviate the Kashmiri Muslims from their religious ethos which are indispensable for their identity."

He said the group was also impressing upon the tourism department not to encourage "this cultural aggression against Kashmiri Muslims and remain vigilant against elements, who, in the garb of promoting tourism, are promoting vulgarity, alcoholism, drug trafficking and other immoral activities."

The current diktat is reminiscent of the early 1990s when radical groups banned cinema halls, wine shops and beauty parlours, calling these anti-Islamic and against the ethos of the valley.

Kashmir has been witnessing a record number of tourist arrivals this year, both domestic and foreign.

The tourism department says more than 400,000 tourists have visited the valley so far. This excludes the over-130,000 pilgrims who are here for the annual Amarnath Yatra.

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