In a shocking development, authorities in north Kashmir’s Handwara have suspended a forest employee for wearing a Pheran (a Kashmiri traditional outfit) during duty hours.

The suspension letter issued by the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Langate as per News Agency Kashmir Scroll reads, the suspension of a forest guard for attire resembling that of a shepherd has raised concerns among rights activists and community members.

The Divisional Forest Officer Langate issued a suspension order, claiming that during his surprise inspection of the forest check-post in Langate, he found one of the forest officials wearing a ‘pheran’ that looked like that of a shepherd.

The order reads that, the territorial forest officials are part of a disciplined force and are always duty bound to wear proper dress code while performing duties at sensitive postings.

The letter further reads they the pending departmental enquiry against the forest guard has placed under suspension at attached with range office Rafiabad with immediate effect. The range officer Mawar shall make an internal arrangements in place of the suspended official till suitable staff is posted in the said check-post  reads the official order.