Jammu & Kashmir

‘Looking like shepherd’: Forest guard suspended for wearing pheran in Langate

Area in Langate forest division as forest officials along with cops carry out 'eviction drive' in Khaiepora block. [File Photo]

Handwara: The suspension letter issued by the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Langate has come under scrutiny for its alleged casteist undertones.

The letter about the suspension of a forest guard for attire resembling that of a shepherd has raised concerns among rights activists and community members.

While acknowledging the importance of proper attire for forest officials, the government employee’s association with shepherds has been deemed unacceptable by critics. Additionally, the denigration of the traditional Pheran attire has sparked outrage, with questions raised about the implications of such remarks on Kashmiri culture and identity.

Rights activist, Advocate Mir Imran, expressed strong condemnation of the letter, stating in his Facebook post, “The alleged suspension letter viral on Facebook issued by DFO Langate reeks of casteism. It emits the stench of discrimination based on social status. Does wearing a Pheran equate to backwardness or shepherd status? The shepherd profession is venerable; even prophets have tended flocks. This statement is not just unconstitutional but casteist too.”

Advocate Imran further emphasised need for officials to uphold constitutional values, ethics, and respect for diverse cultural traditions. He called for a thorough review of the incident and urged authorities to take appropriate action to address the concerns raised by the community.

As the controversy unfolds, stakeholders are calling for transparency and accountability in administrative actions, underscoring the importance of upholding dignity and inclusivity in all official communications.

Pertinently, Divisional Forest Officer Langate recently issued a suspension order in favour of a forest guard claiming that during his surprise inspection of forest check-post Langate, he found one of the forest officials wearing a ‘pheran’ looking like a shepherd. [KNT]

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