In a first of its kind campaign, Delhi-based International Muslim Unity Council (IMUC), an NGO, offered red roses to Kashmiri women to promote the wearing of the Hijab (full body veil) in the Kashmir valley.
A few days back, a group of girls, associated with IMUC, stood outside Kashmir’s well-known college, Government Women’s College, and offered roses and scarves to the female students.
In Kashmir this is the new way to motivate women particularly students to go for wearing Hijab by giving them roses, stickers and scarves.
“Religious pamphlets, roses, scarves were offered to girl students coming out from the college from 1 pm to 2.30 pm,” said IMUC general secretary Syed Javid Abbas.
According to Abbas, IMUC is an international organisation and this Hijab campaign is the part of the on-going campaigns in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh Muslim University and Hyderabad University.
“West is using media to discourage Muslim women from wearing the Hijab. We are conveying our message in soft way. Kashmir is pious land and hijab should be worn.
“In the past 15 years, there is a visible change in Kashmir. Women are not wearing the hijab the way they used to,” he said.
Abbas believes that the use of the hijab was going down in the state and the group is planning to go for other educational institutions to go for wearing veil.
However, contrary to IMUC’s campaign, young college going female students in Srinagar believes that wearing Hijab cannot be forced upon to them. The choice to wear a Hijab, they say, is a personal choice of every woman.
“Culturally, women in Kashmir prefer to wear modest dresses. Most women wear hijab by choice. There are other pressing problems faced by the Kashmiris that need the attention of the youth,” said Nazia Rashid, a female student.
“Corruption is eating up merit. Only the powerful get jobs. But who takes on the corrupt and mighty people who flout laws day in and day out,” she added.
The group also stressed upon those women who were not wearing any veil to start wearing one.