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Army writes to Defence, Home ministries over combat dress of police, paramilitary

The Army has requested the Defence Ministry and Home Ministry to issue guidelines that combat dress is not be worn while handling law and order situations, or in urban areas affected by terrorism.




After photographs of paramilitary or state police personnel in Jaffrabad, Delhi wearing “Army pattern” combat uniforms surfaced on social media, the Army has requested the Defence Ministry and Home Ministry to issue guidelines that combat dress not be worn while handling law and order situations, or in urban areas affected by terrorism.

Sources said the Army, in a letter to the Defence Ministry on Monday, said that “combat dress should not be worn” by paramilitary forces “while being employed to handle law & order situations as also while being deployed in urban areas affected by terrorism, as the surroundings do not demand such a requirement”. It also said that “use of distinctly different (both in colour and pattern) disruptive dress by CAPFs and State Police forces should be restricted only to employment in jungle terrain in Left Wing Extremism affected areas”.

The Army has also asked the Defence Ministry to convey the same to the Home Ministry.

According to sources, the letter states, “As bulletproof jackets cover most parts of the torso, those of the CAPFs and State Police forces should be of plain Khaki colour and not of combat colour.”

Further, “sale of Army pattern clothes in the open market needs to be regulated” and private vendors in open market “should establish identity and maintain a record of personnel to whom the Army pattern clothes are being sold”, the letter said, mentioning a proposal by the Home Ministry in March 2016.

Sources said there has been an increasing trend of paramilitary and state police personnel wearing combat uniforms, which are barely distinguishable from the one worn by the Army. As the country is under glare of the national and international media, the Army does not want the idea to be projected that it is being deployed for internal security.

The issue was discussed in the past — in 2004, 2012, 2013 and 2015 — with the Home Secretary holding a meeting of all chiefs of the paramilitary forces to resolve the issue in the last meeting. However, the issue cropped up again in 2016, and the Army has had to write after the latest incident.

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