As videos and pictures emerged on social media of residents being ordered by government forces to disrobe their pherans – a traditional winter cloak in Kashmir, the administration on Wednesday said there are no such orders and said action will be taken if such incidents had taken place.
A video shared on Twitter had shown several pherans stocked outside the mini-secretariat in the southern Shopian district and locals were also seen taking off their pherans before entering the premises.
Another set of pictures clicked by a photo-journalist this week had also shown paramilitary CRPF personnel asking locals in Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of Kashmir’s main city Srinagar, to take off their pherans.
However, two senior officials told The Kashmir Walla that there was no direction from the administration ordering a ban on the pheran.
Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, said there is no official order for the removal of pheran outside the secretariat. “No, there is nothing like that. It’s just a security check.”
He added: “When you have to enter important offices, the checking is done even of all the employees.”
Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Sachin Kumar, said he enquired about the mini-secretariat incidents and found “nothing like that” had happened.
He said that the regular security checks happen but nobody does it by removing the pheran. “Someone must have quoted the wrong context.”
Kumar said that if it is found that anything like this has been done by anyone, action will be taken against them. “But neither anything like this is happening nor this should happen,” said Kumar
Pheran is a traditional winter attire and part of the culture of Kashmir. It is a long loose cloak that people across Kashmir wear during the winter season. The garment has seen a major shift in design over the years.