Briefing September 3-9, 2023



As an entertainment company flew the reigning Miss World, Karolina Bielawski, a Polish model to Srinagar on a day-long trip along with the managers of the event, it fetched the region volumes of publicity. The visit was part of the pageant’s schedule to select the Miss World 2023 in India. The Polish beauty, the runner-ups and members of the entourage, donned Kashmir attire and got clicked in the Mughal Garden, Dal Lake and many other spots. They heaped praise on the location and invited people to explore Kashmir. Miss World is selected from among 140 beauties who participate in the contest. It is one of the many fashion statements on earth. They also called on LG, Manoj Sinha who told them how the region is transforming. However, the event triggered a controversy. While some of the pageant managers said that Kashmir would host the event in December, the company had later termed the reports incorrect, insisting the decision has not been taken.

JKP’s Special Investigation Agency (SIA) has identified 734 absconders of whom 215 were traced in Jammu and 154 in Kashmir. However, 127 remained untraced, 80 have died and 45 are residing on the  other side of the LoC.


LG Sinha presided over the MoU signing ceremony between Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs through Govt of UT of J&K for transfer of 139.04 acres of Defence land at Tattoo ground to MHA on July 31, 2023.

The administration is planning to establish one or more Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authorities to exercise jurisdiction under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Until then, district courts can be declared as such authorities. Six authorities have been empowered to approve land acquisition up to specified pecuniary limits in their jurisdictions. The Collector can approve up to Rs 1 crore, District Collector Rs 20 crore, Divisional Commissioner Rs 40 crore, Financial Commissioner Revenue Rs 60 crore and the government beyond Rs 60 crore. Acquisition limits are set at 20 hectares in urban and 40 hectares in rural areas, not exceeding 15 per cent of the net cultivable area. For displaced SC/ST families, the Rehabilitation Administrator will prepare a development plan in consultation. Additional DCs and Divisional Commissioners will act as Rehabilitation Administrators and Commissioners respectively.

Jammu and Kashmir generated nearly 3 lakh OPD tokens through the ABHA-based Scan & Share tokens in August, securing the second slot across the country, followed by Karnataka. Uttar Pradesh tops the list.


Zahoor Ahmad Bhat (Teacher, lawyer)

In the ongoing 3-day-a-week hearing of Article 370 petitions before the 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, the case of teacher-lawyer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat has hit the headlines. A political science lecturer, he was one of the petitioners who pleaded his own case. After his 10-minute arguments, when he reached home, he was placed under suspension. Kapil Sibal took up the issue with the bench and a direction was passed to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to offer details. What the Manoj Sinha administration told the court is not known but Bhat appeared before the committee constituted by the LG administration in Jammu. He submitted his 2-day leave application, station permission and other documents before appearing in the case in the apex court. The inquiry officer examined him for an hour. After appearing before the court, he resumed his duties back on August 24, 2023. He briefed the officer about his in promoting democracy besides teaching. In 2018, he received a certificate of excellence for being part of the government’s free coaching programme for students appearing for the civil services examination, including Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Services and Indian Administrative Services. Two days later, his suspension order was revoked and he was reinstated.

Jammu and Kashmir observed 32 tremors in 2023 and around 100 in the past two years.


In a Sahitya Akademi organized 2-day seminar on Buddhism and Kashmirscholars said Buddhism entered Kashmir around the 3rd century BCE, with accounts suggesting Buddhist monk Majjhantika introduced it during Ashoka’s rule. Nagas, the inhabitants of Kashmir, became Buddhists. Ashoka helped spread Buddhism by building stupas, and temples and founding Srinagar. Buddhism later started declining due to persecution by some kings, combined opposition from Nagas and Brahmins, and absorption into Hindu Tantric practices. Many Buddhists migrated to Ladakh where Buddhism still flourishes.

Bhaderwah Rajmash, Sulai honey from the Doda and Ramban districts were granted Geographical Indication (GI) tags.


A Jammu court has framed charges against 24 people including a BSF officer in the police sub-inspector recruitment scam. CJM charged them with criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery in the written examination conducted by JKSSB. Accused include JKSSB officials, MeritTrac staffers and candidates. The agency that was held responsible has finally been blacklisted.

MHA formulated Rs 250 crore fool-proof security plan envisaging building 6000 houses, for protecting Kashmiri Pandit migrants in Kashmir is awaiting cabinet approval.


With the hospitals getting an unprecedented number of addicts, some with overdose, a new pandemic is in progress in Kashmir. KL Illustraition: Malik Kaisar

NC leader Omar Abdullah said the government is letting the drug addiction crisis in Kashmir fester by not acknowledging it. He criticised the administration for being insensitive to the problem despite his warnings 10 years ago. Abdullah blamed the police for not diverting attention to drug addiction despite improved law and order. He said religious leaders must also get involved to solve this societal issue. Abdullah alleged the nexus behind drug supply is being encouraged by some in the government. He attributed psychological damage from conflict as a factor for drug use.

Srinagar has secured 4th rank among top cities for clean air initiatives in Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan-2023 by the Central Pollution Control Board.


Several Kashmiri students were attacked and injured by right-wing activists inside Mewar University in Rajasthan following a minor altercation with local students. At least 25 Kashmiri students were detained by police to contain the situation. The Kashmiri students alleged they were targeted with stones and provocative slogans by the activists who barged into the campus. Four students were injured, one critically. Many days later the students were permitted to walk out of the detention.

No officer can keep a file under process for more than seven days.


All Purpose Tourist Taxi Sticker

Ola and Uber-type cab services will soon be available in Jammu and Kashmir as the government has notified Motor Vehicle Aggregator Rules 2023. This will allow companies like Ola, Uber and local firms who have shown interest to complete formalities and start operations. The rules outline eligibility, licensing, and driver training requirements for aggregators to enable safe, compliant on-demand cab services in Jammu and Kashmir. The government can monitor compliance and aggregators can access VAHAN, and SARATHI portals to update vehicle, and driver details.


Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General

The Supreme Court’s 5-judge Constitution Bench asked the Centre to specify a timeframe for restoring electoral democracy in Jammu and Kashmir. Admitting that national security is important, the bench observed the lack of democracy cannot continue indefinitely. In response, the government said on August 31 that the government was ready for elections at any time. However, on restoration of statehood, it said it will take time. The government counsel said Ladakh will remain a UT even when the statehood is restored for Jammu and Kashmir.


Iltija Mufti

Mehbooba Mufti appointed her daughter Iltija Mufti as her media advisor. Iltija has been handling Mehbooba’s social media since 2019 when mainstream leaders were detained after Article 370 was scrapped. She emerged as a leading critical voice against the move. Iltija said it is not a formal entry into politics.


Opposition alliance – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA)

The 26-party opposition grouping, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) has a tall order to unseat the BJP but they may also have to solve the festering issue of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP). Over the rights of succession, two nephews of founder Bhim Singh are fighting – Harsh Dev Singh and Vilakshan Singh. While Harsh Dev was part of the INDIA third strategy meeting, his rival has shot a letter to the Congress president claiming to be party president and insisting his party “is not inclined to be part the alliance”. In the meeting, the opposition bloc set up a 14-member coordination committee that will act as the alliance’s highest decision-making body. While Dr Farooq Abdullah was part of the meeting, the Alliance has taken Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah as its members.


It is a festering crisis. JK Police again busted an inter-district fraud marriage racket and arrested four of its members in Kunzer. They were operating as middlemen for prospective marriages by sending photos of various young women, falsely claiming they were potential brides. They were solemnising marriages, fixing and taking Mehr but the marriages would never take place. The gang has so far amassed Rs 7.38 lakh from their victims. The arrested were identified as Laal Hussain and Irshada Begum (Rajouri), Abdul Rahman Rather and Abdul Khaliq Dar (Budgam).


At Gurez Festival, Horse Polo revived after many decades

Shinon Meeras is a new museum that offers symbols and artefacts of Dard-Shina tribes. LG Manoj Sinha inaugurated it. This is the first cultural centre of its kind devoted to the Shina-speaking Dard community. Sinha said the Dardis museum, recognises the Dard-Shin community’s enormous contribution to nation-building. Items on display include textiles, exhibits, artefacts, and interactive boards are all included throughout the centre. There are additional sections that are related to geography, such as those about Dardistan, the Kishanganga River, the Gurezi way of life, and the Gurezi language.


Jammu based businessman, Rupesh Masson bought land on the Moon on August 25.

Within days after the Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the dark side of the moon, Rupesh Masson, a Jammu resident, claimed he bought land on the moon on August 25.

Masson, who is the regional director of UCMAS for Jammu and Kashmir and Leh, said he bought land at Luna Earths Moon, Tract 55-Parcel 10772 known as Lacus Felicitatis (Lake of Happiness). He made the purchase from the New York-based Lunar Registry. He said that around 675 celebrities and three former presidents of the United States had extra-terrestrial land holdings. As the news spread, in Kashmir land brokers were desperate to know what is the rate per kanal!


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