Three women were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir by Islamic militants for not wearing burqas, United Press International reports. Two sisters, aged 18 and 21, were shot dead in their house by unidentified gunmen while a third woman, 22, was kidnapped from her house and beheaded. Her body was found in the jungles. “There is a possibility these killings are linked with the … dress code. We have sent a police party,” an official told Reuters.
The violent killings took place just days after handwritten flyers appeared warning women to follow an Islamic dress code or face consequences. Police suspect a small local group, Lashka Jabbar, to be responsible for the attacks. Last year they sprayed two women in Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, for going against its dress code. The group threatened to shoot Muslim women if they disobeyed, demanded that women from the Hindu minority community wear the traditional red colored dot on their foreheads, and ordered women in the Sikh community to cover their heads with a saffron-colored cloth, Reuters reports.
Over a dozen Islamic rebel groups have been fighting for the independence of Kashmir from Indian rule. India accuses Pakistan of arming and sending Islamic militants to Kashmir, while Pakistan denies any “direct involvement” with the militants, according to Reuters. The 13-year-old uprising has claimed more than 37,000 lives, according to UPI.
Media Resources: Reuters 12/20/02; United Press International 12/20/02