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EditorialWhat’s Wrong, What’s Not?

What’s Wrong, What’s Not?


The incident involving a senior forest official from Langate Forest Division in has sparked controversy after purportedly using the term ‘Shepherd' in a derogatory manner in an order to suspend a junior official for wearing the traditional Kashmiri dress, Pheran, while on duty. This incident warrants careful consideration from two perspectives. Firstly, the officer's decision has drawn widespread criticism, including from Kashmiri political leaders, for making what appears to be an inappropriate and chauvinistic comparison of the suspended individual to a Shepherd, seemingly suggesting that describing a sheep-rearing community is taboo.

Certainly, each position within the government sector entails specific rules and expectations. In the aforementioned case, the Forest Guard on duty was not permitted to wear traditional attire such as a Pheran, as it is deemed unsuitable for the nature of their responsibilities. Therefore, the officer who addressed this matter during the inspection appears to be justified in his actions. Wearing traditional clothing during critical duties is ill-advised, and any inquiry into the incident should consider relevant regulations when determining the appropriate course of action. It is evident that the decision to suspend and reprimand the errant official was likely appropriate.

However, regarding the content of the order issued by the aforementioned Forest Officer, it is unquestionably objectionable. In official communications, individuals are not authorized to use derogatory language or make racially insensitive remarks. Those issuing orders are obligated to maintain decorum and ensure their words remain within the bounds of respectful communication. The use of language that could potentially offend any segment of society based on factors such as profession, religion, or ethnicity is unacceptable. Thus, it can be concluded that the officer crossed a line in this instance, resulting in societal outrage.

In nutshell, the action of suspension of the official seems to be right but the way the order was drafted was totally unacceptable. It is however reasonable that to undo the wrong, the aforesaid official has sought an apology from the public and issued a corrigendum to his order making it amply clear that the action was not done maliciously but it just happened inadvertently.

Considering the wisdom shown by the officer in the matter after the aforesaid gaffe, it is advisable that the matter should be allowed to take its own course as far as enquiry in the matter of forest guard wearing a Pheran is concerned as political or any other kind of interference will further create problems, which should not be the case.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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