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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Kashmir vice-vigilante women held
Members of Dukhtaran-e-Milat leaving a hotel
Asiya Andrabi has spent a year in prison previously with her child
Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have arrested the leader and six other members of an all-women separatist group fighting against 'obscenity'.

The seven women were arrested after raiding a restaurant in Srinagar.

The Maryam Squad of the Dukhtaran-e-Milat (Daughters of the Faith) had launched a campaign against alcohol and prostitution in the state.

Asiya Andrabi is a well-known separatist leader. She has previously spent a year in jail.

'Who are they?'

"Asiya was arrested when she assaulted a married woman who with her husband at the restaurant," senior police officer Muneer Khan told Reuters.

"Who are they to impose their code of conduct?" he asked.

Members of Dukhtaran-e-Millat carry out a raid on a hotel

Before her arrest Ms Andrabi said: "Indians are fighting on several fronts in Kashmir and the moral degradation in our Muslim society is part of their plan."

"We decided to counter this."

Over the past week the group has raided a number of hotels suspected of selling liquor and suspected brothels.

It also issued a diktat to operators of restaurants and internet cafes to remove booths where there are reports of young men and women getting intimate.

Alcohol shops as well as cinemas were closed down in the Kashmir Valley in the autumn of 1989 after the outbreak of separatist violence.

They have started re-opening in some areas in the past couple of years.

The Dukhtaran-e-Milat launched a campaign for the wearing of the burqa by Muslim women in the early 1990s.

Its activists sprayed paint on women who did not wear a burqa.

The campaign succeeded but its success was short-lived.

A large majority of women have abandoned the veil.

Kashmir women fight 'obscenity'
31 Aug 05 |  South Asia


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