Imagine this: some tourists, from India and abroad, fly to Jammu and Kashmir, and are eager to escape the confines of Srinagar airport and to get themselves a lungful of that pristine Himalayan air.
Upon arrival, they are advised to visit the official clothier’s outlet of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department before they hit the
streets. They need to make a stop there so they can shed any “objectionable” attire and don a traditional pheran to respect the “local ethos and culture” of India’s northernmost state.
Don’t like it? Go home.
It’s an impossible scenario in most parts of the world, but this idea — already the norm in conservative Saudi Arabia — is something that the Kashmiri religious group Jamaat-e-Islami, would like to import to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jamaat fears that tourists wearing mini skirts and other objectionable dresses could derail “the [Kashmiri] society from the right track.”
Labelling tourists’ clothing, which often veers to the casual and the revealing (it’s hot out there when you’re visiting five monuments a day!) as “cultural aggression against the Kashmiri Muslims,” the group has accused women tourists wearing short dresses, mini-skirts and other skimpy attire from the West as agents of “immorality and immodesty”.