Srinagar: A non-governmental organisation (NGO), the All Jammu and Kashmir Youth Society (AJKYS) organised, what it termed as, the “first of its kind” fashion show, in Srinagar Saturday.
The organisers of the event, which was held at Srinagar’s Tagore Hall, said that more than 500 guests attended the show in which more than 30 male and female models walked the ramp.
The fashion show, however, led to a “silent march” by a group of Kashmiri women in Srinagar today. The protestors clarified that they weren’t part of any organisation and had spontaneously gathered to oppose the event because it allegedly sets a wrong precedent for the youth in Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police did not clarify whether permission for the demonstration was granted by authorities since protests in the Valley have largely been disallowed since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Ticket to Bollywood
Advocate Sajid Yousuf, president of the AJKYS, who also runs a local web portal, the Real Kashmir News, termed the show a success and said that the event was held to provide career opportunities in modelling and Bollywood to the local youth.
“Many among the youth in Kashmir want a career in modelling and Bollywood, but cannot go to Mumbai because of the expenses involved. Such events will give them a platform here in Kashmir,” Yousuf told ThePrint Sunday.
Yousuf also said that his organisation held several other events in different parts of Kashmir, including cricket leagues and music events.
“In Karnah, we are organising a cricket league. Likewise, we held similar events in other parts of Kashmir, including in Pulwama, but the fashion show is the first of its kind. Bollywood designer Rajdeep Sardesai and super model Soni Kaur were among the judges,” Yousuf added.
Yousuf also said that the protest held in Srinagar was against a fashion show, but the protesters had not named his organisation. He also said that the protest did not matter to him.
“If you listen to one of the women protesters, she says that they had come voluntarily and were not forced. I don’t think that is the case. Who arranged for the transportation for the women? Who arranged the march? Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter.”
Not just about clothes
Srinagar SSP Sandeep Choudhary did not respond to calls or messages from The Print. However, a senior police officer on condition of anonymity said, “Nearly 40 women gathered in the Nehru Park area and planned to march to the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC). They were, however, turned back before reaching the destination. We have learnt that the women are followers of a cleric from Budgam.”
However, the cleric when contacted, refused to be identified, and claimed the protestors were not affiliated to him.
A woman interviewed by local news portals was quoted as saying, “They said that the fashion show was related to clothes only, but Kashmir being a Muslim-majority region [the show] has created unrest among us. We have come here to ask for our rights and oppose the fashion show because today this is about clothes, but tomorrow our girls can be forced into prostitution or something more dangerous.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)