Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow
SRINAGAR–Traditional pheran (loose cloak) is at the heart of controversy after Bajrang Dal called for banning the cultural dress of Kashmir.
This follows the militant attack in Srinagar that left two policemen dead on Friday. A militant hiding AK 47 under his pheran was caught on camera firing on the unarmed cops at Bagaat, Barzulla in uptown Srinagar.
Later, Bajrang Dal staged a protest demonstration in Jammu demanding a ban on the traditional Kashmiri dress.
“Our forces cannot differentiate between militant and a civilian. Most of the grenade attacks have been carried out by pheran clad militants. They hide grenades and guns under the pheran and attack the security forces. Ninety-nine percent grenade attacks have been carried out by militants wearing pherans,” said Rakesh Bajrangi of Bajrang Dal.
Bajrangi said these incidents are wake-up calls and the government needs to ban pheran because it is being misused by the militants. BJP too has joined the chorus seeking a ban on the traditional attire of Kashmir.
“Nothing is more precious than the lives of our soldiers and SPOs. Most of the time traditional dresses were misused by militants. They hide grenades and even AK 47s under the pheran. It should be banned in public places and offices,” said a BJP leader.
However, National Conference president and Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah said Kashmiris would continue to wear pheran come what may. “We have donned pheran when militancy was at its peak. We will continue to wear it. We will not abandon it,” he said.
This is not the first time when BJP has raised objections to pheran. Last month IIT Jammu had to drop pheran as the dress theme of its maiden Convocation ceremony after strong criticism. Earlier, the IIT Jammu had asked pass outs to wear pherans during the convocation.
Given Jammu sentiment, Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh took up the matter with higher authorities and as a result, the idea of pheran was dropped. Later IIT told the pass outs to wear conventional convocation gowns.
Earlier in 2018, a major row had erupted after the education department at Langate banned wearing the cultural dress in offices. Leading the campaign against the ban was former chief minister Omar Abdullah who had started the campaign on Twitter for revoking the ban. Under pressure, the education department later revoked the order.