Molestation row: Women asked to disguise as men while visiting govt offices

Jun 17th, 2014 | By | Category: Society

 disguiseSrinagar: After a spate of instances involving allegations of sexual assault and molestation by government officers, the government has asked all females to disguise themselves as males while visiting administrative offices.

“In pursuance of state policy to protect the rights of women, it is hereby directed that all women wishing to visit government offices should do so while disguising as male folk,” the order read, “This order is also applicable to female government staff visiting offices of their superiors or directors or ministers.”

The order, issued this morning, and shared extensively on facebook and whatsapp lead to a shopping spree in the crowded streets of streets.

“We have seen extreme rush of women. They are asking for jeans, Khan dress, caps and even Sikh turbans,” said Altaf Ahmad, who owns a trendy garment store in Srinagar.

“Moustaches and beards are the other hot items in demand,” he said.

Aslam Dar, 42, was accompanying his wife to the Accountant General’s Office, in connection with her provident fund files, when they heard about the order.

“My wife took my Khan dress, shoes, glasses to enter the office,” said Dar, wearing a shawl outside the office complex to protect his modesty.

However, many men visiting the government offices criticized the latest order, which they claimed have put them in harm’s way.

“This is creating a dangerous situation for us, now the officers don’t know who is male and who is female,” said Rameez Ahmad a teacher who has to visit the directorate office daily. “They (officers) view us with suspicion of being females in disguise.”

The younger clean shaven men are feeling vulnerable too as there have been couple of incidents of attempts of molestation on them.

“This afternoon when I went to our director with a file he tried to come too close to me. He even touched me improperly couple of times,” said Ajaz, an Rehbar-e-Zirat employee almost bursting with tears.”They have put our honour at risk. We have never felt so vulnerable in our lives as today.”

Some social experts also chided the government order for ‘lack of foresight’.

“You see what if the director has other leanings, so men are in danger. And what if the officer is a female,” said Noor Mohammad, a sociologist. “Government has not thought on these lines and the order needs a modification to make it gender equal and include the rights of third genders too.”

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