SRINAGAR: Participants at a religious conference, where Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha was the chief guest, were on Tuesday asked to remove their 'pherans' (Kashmiri cloaks) as part of the security measures.
An official of the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Security Wing said they had orders "from above" to not allow anyone wearing 'pheran' inside the conference hall as part of the security measure.
Several dozens of people, including religious leaders, took part in the "Confluence of Religious Leaders in Kashmir" conference at SKICC here, officials said.
Jammu and Kashmir's Lt governor Sinha was the chief guest at the function.
However, amid continuous rains, several participants -- many of whom had come from far off places if the valley -- were asked to remove their 'pherans' at the entrance of the conference venue, causing inconvenience to them.
Many participants had to go back outside the SKICC complex amid rains to keep their 'pherans' in their vehicles.
"We are facing difficulties. We came here to attend this conference, but we were told to remove our 'pherans' which is not good in this weather," Ghulam Khan, a participant told reporters.
Another participant, Hilal Ahmad, said they fail to understand the logic behind the move to ban the entry of participants wearing 'pherans'.
"The elderly people came here in 'pherans' because it is very cold and raining, but they are not allowed inside because someone in Jammu says 'pherans' should be banned," he said.
"Tomorrow they will ban jackets or head scarfs which our sisters wear. I fail to understand that one hand they say Kashmiris are their own, but on the other, they do such things," Ahmad said.
The participants said the security personnel frisked and checked every participant before entering the venue and there was no need for such a diktat.
"When they frisk us at multiple points, what is the logic behind this diktat? The 'pheran' is not our traditional wear, it protects from cold and rain also. This is not a good thing," Feroz Khan said.