A junior engineer working with the state government was fined Rs 2,000 and made to apologise during Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid in Kishtwar town reportedly for dancing at a marriage function of a close relation. The punishment was reportedly awarded to him a fortnight ago by the imam of Kishtwar Jamia Masjid, Farooq Ahmed Kitchloo, who is also related to the engineer. A video featuring the engineer dancing at the marriage function was sent to Kitchloo by a local, following which the punishment was given.
Sources said that Kitchloo, as head of the Majlis-e-Shoura Committee, an amalgam of more than 300 religious and social organisations in Kishtwar district, had in the last fortnight issued a series of fatwas — from banning musical nights during marriage and other functions to asking women to observe hijab and terming co-education un-Islamic.
A poster issued by the Majlis-e-Shoura Committee early this month, which includes imams of all 206 mosques across the hilly district, has asked women to venture out only in the company of a male relative. It has described coeducation in private coaching institutes as un-Islamic and asked parents not to send their daughters there. It has also asked owners of those coaching institutes to have separate tuition timings for girls.
According to locals, the fatwa against women venturing out alone or girls attending classes with boys have failed to evoke much response. However, there have been no reports of anyone organising a musical night in the district for the last fortnight, said Ashfaq Hussain, a local resident.
Kitchloo and the junior engineer asked this reporter to call back after 15 minutes, but did not respond to subsequent phone calls. When contacted, Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said he had heard about the imposition of fine by the imam on a junior engineer, but had no knowledge about the issuance of fatwa by Majlis-e-Shoura Committee. No one had approached him with any complaint about it as well, he added.