Grenade targets salon in Kashmir

Militants backed by stone-throwing residents lobbed a grenade at a beauty parlour in south Kashmir's Pulwama today, injuring two women employees and triggering speculation of a fresh bid to force the closure of salons in the Valley.

By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Srinagar
  • Published 13.10.17
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Srinagar, Oct. 12: Militants backed by stone-throwing residents lobbed a grenade at a beauty parlour in south Kashmir's Pulwama today, injuring two women employees and triggering speculation of a fresh bid to force the closure of salons in the Valley.

Some militants and hardline separatists believe that beauty parlours promote immorality. There have been several attempts in the past to force their closure.

Pulwama police chief Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam said the grenade went off with a loud explosion around 3.45pm and triggered panic in the town, 32km from Srinagar.

"Two girls suffered minor injuries. One of them suffered a splinter injury and the other was hit by pieces of shattered glass. Both of them were admitted to a hospital and have been discharged after treatment," Aslam told The Telegraph .

Police sources said cops clashed with a stone-pelting mob that had assembled at the spot apparently in solidarity with the militants' moral policing bid.

"There were clashes between the two sides, but they (the stone-throwers) later dispersed," a source said.

The police sources said no militant group had issued any threat to parlour owners before carrying out the attack.

"Nevertheless, it was a militant attack and everybody knows they don't approve of such things (parlours)," a source said.

Militants have on several occasions unsuccessfully tried to close down parlours.

The sources said Hizb posters had surfaced in Pulwama in 2015 asking beauty parlours to wind up their businesses. "They remained shut for a few days but later reopened," a source said.

Many beauty parlours have come up in Kashmir and hundreds of women visit them daily.

When militancy erupted in Kashmir in 1989, separatist and militant outfits had forced the closure of liquor shops, cinemas and beauty parlours, claiming they promoted immortality.

There are no cinemas in Kashmir. A couple had reopened briefly in the late 90s but closed again because of lack of footfall.

Some liquor shops operate in high-security areas.

But the ban on parlours and the militants' efforts to force women to observe purdah did not work perhaps because of the broader societal disapproval of such restrictions unlike in the case of liquor and cinemas.