Kashmir Muslims warn against Valentine's Day celebrations

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SRINAGAR, India: A prominent women s separatist group in revolt-hit Indian Kashmir on Wednesday told people not to celebrate Valentine s Day, saying it promoted immorality.

We appeal to Kashmiri Muslims to avoid celebrating such events which have been prohibited by Islam, the Dukhtaran-e-Millat or Daughters of the Faith said in a statement issued in Srinagar, summer capital of the Muslim-majority region where a revolt has raged against New Delhi s rule since 1989.

Valentine s Day, feted on February 14, spreads immorality and we appeal to Kashmiris, the younger generation in particular, to avoid it, the group said.

The group, which has campaigned for a decade to eradicate social evils from society besides supporting the rebels, has branded Valentine s Day a deep-rooted conspiracy of the West to involve Muslims in their vulgar culture.

The outfit also asked shopkeepers not to sell Valentine cards and other gifts related to this un-Islamic event.

We warn restaurant owners not to organise any functions on Valentine s Day, the group added, without specifying what action it might take.

Dukhtaran activists in the past have raided shops, confiscating Valentine s Day cards and making a bonfire out of them. It has also smeared paint on women not wearing head-to-toe veils and harassed dating couples.

Kashmir s 10 million population is socially conservative, but over the past few years couples in the region have been seen dating more openly in parks and restaurants.

Moderate and hardline separatists have rallied around the group, saying it is doing a good job fighting immorality.

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