Two groups claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaeda left notes on mosques in Kashmir promising to douse any woman who dares uncover her face in public with acid — and, for good measure, kill anyone using a cellphone.
Here's the note in full:
"We appeal to the public that they ensure that their women observe purdah [cover their heads and faces] in public places. If we spot any woman without purdah we will sprinkle acid on her face. If we spot any girl using mobile phone, she will be shot dead."
And if a woman is talking on her cellphone while also baring her head, all men within a 1,000 mile radius will spontaneously combust due to her insolence. Wait, no, there's no way to joke about this situation because it is So. Inconceivably. Horrible.
Experts told The Daily Telegraph that Kashmir is a relatively liberal state that hasn't had to deal with acid attack campaigns since 2001. But the tactic is more common in nearby Pakistan, where a woman might be "sprinkled" (What a quaint term, right? Oh, just a little teensy sprinkle of acid! NBD!) with acid for daring to reject a marriage proposal, and some suspect local militants are trying to bring the practice across the border.
"In the last 23 years of the war, women have been targeted by fringe elements," Professor Noor Ahmad Baba said. "Generally, women in Kashmir are more empowered than women from other conflict zones. There have been campaigns to force women to wear veil but it didn't sustain for long." Kashmir's Inspector General of Police said they're looking into the situation; let's hope they're taking it very, very seriously.
Kashmir women ordered to cover up or risk acid attack [UK Telegraph]