Kashmir: Women demand action against brothel clients
June 2, 2006
Veiled Kashmir women hold anti-prostitution march
PROTEST: Activists of the Dukhtaran-e-Milat, or Daughters of Faith, hold placards during a protest against a sex scandal in Srinagar June 2. (REUTERS)
SRINAGAR, India -- Three-dozen veiled activists from Indian Kashmir's leading female separatist group marched on Friday to demand action against people accused of patronizing a prostitution ring.
Aasiya Andrabi, chief of activist group Dukhtaran-e-Milat or Daughters of Faith, led the women who were clad from head to toe in black and chanted "Give severe punishment to those involved in flesh trade".
The racket was uncovered here in the summer capital Srinagar in April and involved nearly 40 women and teenage girls whose clients reportedly included politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.
A huge outcry ensued in the conservative Muslim-majority state, which has been racked by a 16-year-old Islamic insurgency against Indian rule.
State chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad last month asked the federal Central Bureau of Investigations to take over the case, which came to light when amateur pornographic films began circulating.
Last month hundreds of people ransacked the house of the woman accused of organizing the prostitution ring and set fire to her belongings.
The government has said that it would introduce legislation making prostitution punishable by life in prison.
Prostitution currently carries a jail term of up to three years for the first offense and up to five years for a second offense under the state's Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.