Security hazard: Indian Army uniforms available for Rs 500 in Rajasthan

Indian Army uniforms are being illegally sold for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in the border towns of Rajasthan. The shopkeepers are blatantly flouting the rules by openly selling the Army uniforms and accessories used by defence personnel without procuring any license. The sellers don’t even bother to check the customer’s ID card, which is very dangerous from the security point of view. In 2016, the Air Force station in Pathankot was attacked by terrorists dressed in army fatigues. Not only the uniforms, even boots, jackets, belts, bed rolls and signs used by defence personnel are available in the markets.

Punjab government in 2016 had imposed a ban on the sale of army uniforms across the state. Punjab had witnessed terror attacks in Pathankot and Gurdaspur where terrorists had disguised themselves in the Army fatigues. Any person who wants to buy the uniform was supposed to submit a self-attested copy of his identity card and phone number with the shopkeeper and this record was duly maintained along with date of sale in the record register of the shopkeeper.

A week after the Pathankot terror attack the Army had asked civilians to avoid wearing “Army-pattern” dresses and shopkeepers to refrain from selling combat clothes, as it issued fresh guidelines to the public to prevent terror attacks. An official spokesperson of the Army had then said that civilians were asked to avoid wearing “Army-pattern” dresses and shopkeepers were asked not to sell combat cloth, Army uniforms and equipment as “it is illegal” to do so.

Also private security agencies, police and other central forces were not to wear “combat-pattern” dresses as “it is not authorized and leads to false alarms”, an official said. “All traders and shopkeepers interested in selling Army uniforms may approach the local military authority and request for shops in units/cantonments approved areas/shops,” the official said.