With Pakistan-based terrorists in army fatigues once again setting into motion the second major attack in Punjab territory within five months with a car snatching, it remains a challenge for the security establishment to stop the misuse of the much-coveted uniform.
The fabric that looks ‘almost similar’ to the army fatigues is available in most cloth shops on Railway Road, Pathankot, at a starting rate of around Rs 200 per metre going up to Rs 700 a metre. So, a full ‘uniform’ for an average adult male, who needs around 5-metre for both shirt and trouser can be had for as little as Rs 1,000. After adding the stitching charges, one can roam around the city as an army man for less than Rs 1,500.
Shopkeepers, however, claim that most customers they sell the fabric to are accredited army jawans.
“Most shopkeepers here have been selling the fabric for long and mostly for the use of army jawans. The army has never raised any concern on the sale. Everybody does it, so I do it as well. In fact, the sale of this fabric is our bread and butter. If an order is issued banning its sale, I will follow it,” a shopkeeper told HT on the condition of anonymity.
When contacted, defence spokesperson Manish Mehta said, “It is the duty of respective deputy commissioners to check the sale of cloth and uniform similar to the ones used by the army. Security personnel get their uniforms from respective units and only at authorised outlets in army areas.”
Deputy commissioner Sukhwinder Singh could not be contacted for comment.