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Army withdraws invite asking scribes not to wear pheran at J&K press meet

After resentment from journalists, the Army withdrew the email and sent a fresh invite to journalists.

Srinagar |
February 22, 2014 4:04:14 am

Within hours of asking journalists not to wear traditional “pheran” (traditional Kashmiri gown) for a press conference citing security reasons, the Army was forced to withdraw the order after scribes lodged strong protest.

Army Public Relation officer N N Joshi sent an email invite to Srinagar-based journalists on Friday afternoon for a press conference at 15 Corps headquarters on Saturday. The press conference is to be addressed by the General Officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt Gen Gurmit Singh.

“As you are aware about the security concerns refrain from wearing Pheran” reads the invitation. The email also asked journalists to bring scanned copies of their identity cards to ensure entry.

However, journalists expressed their concern over the contents of the email and decided to boycott the press conference unless the Army come out with a clarification. “We have no problems in cooperating with the Army on security issues but they should explain how come traditional pheran is a security risk,” said a senior journalist Yusuf Jameel.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “If the Army had told journalists not to wear Pheran to Corps Headquarters events, it is unacceptable and the order should be withdrawn. People wear their Pheran with pride. It is part of our identity aside from best way to stay warm in cold. Can not ban Pherans.”

After resentment from journalists, the Army withdrew the email and sent a fresh invite to journalists. Defence spokesman termed the earlier email an “error”.

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