The Jammu and Kashmir government severely criticised the worldwide ban on shahtoosh shawls saying it is "a deliberate attempt at discrimination against over 2,000 people of the state whose livelihood is totally dependent on this trade."
Minister for industries Mustafa Kamal said that there was no specific evidence that the Tibetan antelope, Chiru, was being killed to obtain wool from the animal for manufacturing the shahtoosh shawls. He pointed out that a February 2000 census conducted by the Tibetan administration had revealed that there were 6,000 Chirus in the upper reaches of the Himalaya as against the 1,400 in 1967. Therefore, he said there was enough evidence that the Chirus were not being killed to make shahtoosh shawls. "Had it been the case, the entire Chiru population would have been finished by now," he pointed out.
He said the main raw material for manufacturing shahtoosh shawls is the wool collected from shrubs in the Ladakh and other high-altitude areas.
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