With terrorists adopting the modus operandi of wearing army fatigues to mislead people about their identity, the Indian Army on Friday asked people not to wear army-pattern dresses.
Use of army uniform and equipment is not only illegal, but cannot be “a fashion statement”, the spokesman said.
“Avoid wearing army pattern dresses. It is illegal,” an army spokesman said here on Wednesday, adding people should follow this in the national interest.
“Private security agencies, police and other central forces are also requested not to wear combat pattern dresses as it is not authorised and leads to false alarms,” the spokesman said.
Suspected Pakistani terrorists who launched a pre-dawn attack on the Pathankot air base in Punjab on Saturday had come attired in army fatigues.
The terror attack left six terrorists and seven security personnel dead. All assets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the air base, including fighter jets, attack helicopters and other equipment, as well as families of personnel were secure.
The spokesman said that sale of army uniforms by shopkeepers, happening freely across the country, to unauthorised persons was also illegal.
“Shopkeepers should not sell combat cloth, army uniforms or army equipment. All traders and shopkeepers interested in selling these may approach the local military authority and request for shops in units/cantonments approved areas/shops. It is illegal to sell army uniforms to unauthorised persons,” he said.
The spokesman said relatives of the armed forces personnel and ex-Servicemen have also been requested not to use items of uniform which they may be having as they could create false reports. “It is illegal,” he concluded.
The army has asked police and civil administration to check and crackdown on defaulters.
The advisory comes in the wake of the Pathankot and the Dinanagar incidents (on July 27 in Gurdaspur district of Punjab). In both the incidents, Pakistani terrorists came dressed in army fatigues.
The spokesman said anyone not authorised to wear the army pattern dresses and roaming around could lead to a scare in areas where there is apprehension of a terror strike.
“The army and the police keep getting information of suspicious activities of persons having been seen carrying rucksacks and wearing combat pattern dress associated with armed forces,” he said.
“While during incidents such as in Pathankot, it has resulted in elimination of terrorists, in most cases these have turned out to be misleading and caused inconvenience to the people at large.”
“We deeply regret the inconvenience caused but then these operations are inescapable to ensure your safety and security,” he said.
The army has also appealed to the youth to use social media to spread awareness and start a campaign to prevent misuse of army uniform and equipment “as fashion statement”.