RANCHI - Fear gripped young women in this Indian city after three posters by a newly-formed group, Jharkhand Mukti Sangh, threatened them with serious consequences if they were seen sporting jeans and T-shirts or not wearing a dupatta. The posters said they would start policing after August 20, reported Indian media on Thursday.

The handwritten posters in red ink have been put up by Jharkhand Mukti Sangh at several points in the city, including St. Xavier’s College and Albert Ekka roundabout. “From August 20, jeans have been banned for girls. Any girl will be found wearing jeans and moving without dupatta  will be attacked with acid,” the posters stated.

The posters also warn against displacing people for the sake of industrialisation. “Companies involved in land acquisition will be attacked,” it said.

However, police said the posters could be a case of mischief. “We have heard about this outfit for the first time. This can be a case of mischief. We are trying to trace the people involved,” a police official said.

Since jeans have become the most common apparel for young women now, they were quite shaky after the warning. “I don’t understand what’s wrong if we wear jeans. Everyone wears jeans these days. I will now think twice before I slip into a pair,” said Namrata, a student of Women’s College.

The posters also invited students to join the group. A student leader, S Ali, said “They are following an undemocratic path and so we will not join them. But I do agree that girls should not wear clothes that expose too much. Parents should themselves stop them.

 Religious groups should come forward and counsel them.”

Since jeans have become the most common apparel for young women now, they were quite shaky after the warning. “I don’t understand what’s wrong if we wear jeans. Everyone wears jeans these days. I will now think twice before I slip into a pair,” said Namrata, a student of Women’s College.

Another girl, Pragya of St Xavier’s College, was not too sure about the seriousness of the threat. “We will continue to wear what we have been wearing but we will definitely be careful. I have faith in the police and know that the culprits will be caught.”

Meenakshi, a student of Nirmala College, said, “People who have put up the posters are criminals and it is better we do not talk about them. I hardly wear jeans but now after this threat, I will avoid wearing them.”

Parents have also been caught unawares. Ajay Sharma, a father of an 18-year-old girl, said “I never stopped my daughter from wearing anything but after the posters I will advise her against wearing jeans. Her safety is more important.”

The posters have rattled college authorities, too. The principal of Women’s College, Manju Sinha, said “Wearing indecent clothes is not appreciable but I don’t think there is a problem if girls wear jeans. It is a matter of concern if the miscreants are trying to create fear.