The ‘dress code’ diktat issued by a Kashmiri religious group to the tourists in the Valley seems to have found no takers as the visitors do not pay any heed to the ‘order'.
The organisation in question-Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir, a cadre based religio-political organisation, had recently issued a dress code advisory for tourists asking them to done "proper dress" in Kashmir.
The Jamaat while asking tourists to honour “local ethos” had also demanded the officials of the state tourism department to make sure that the visitors do not walk in “short mini-skirts” and other “objectionable dresses” openly.
The ‘order’ to the guests evoked strong criticism by the media and the locals as it came at a time when the entire valley is already buzzing with the thousands of domestic and foreign visitors. However the unpopular decision did not affect the tourists' inflow in the Valley.
“We have not received any complaint by any of the tourists. Neither we have found any tourist getting disturbed by the Jamaat Islami’s statement. Everything is going on as usual,” Talat Parveez, the director of Kashmir’s tourism department told TSI.
Most of the tourists seem even totally unaware of the dress code advisory.
“I have no idea about any such diktat, neither any one has expressed objection regarding my dress.” Jarah Mattityahu, a Jewish tourist told TSI. Jarah is in a houseboat at Srinagar’s Nigeen Lake for last two weeks.
“How can any person or a group dictate us what to dress or not to. Such things can not be acceptable in any part of civilized the world.” She added.
Meanwhile, the Jamaat Islami insists that it stands by its statement. “We have simply requested our guests to dress decently and to respect the local ethos and the culture. And we stick to what we said. No nation can compromise its morality and obligatory customs for simple monetary benefits,” advocate Zahid Ali, spokesperson of Jama’at-e-Islami told TSI.
“Tourists mostly the foreigners are seen wandering in short miniskirts and other objectionable dresses and it is quite against the local ethos and culture and is not acceptable to the civil society at all,” Jamaat spokesperson added.
It is pertinent to mention the tourism industry is the main source of economy to the people of J&K and about sixty percent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on tourism.
The industry faced setback during the three consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2010 due to the unrest in the Valley. The government is expecting two million tourists in the valley this year.