Briefing September17-23, 2023



PM Naredra Modi with Mrs and Mr Joe Biden US President on June 23, 2023.

The government’s decision to waive the 20 per cent additional imported duty on US apples has raised concerns in Kashmir. Stakeholders said the decision has the potential to negatively impact the local produce. The revised tariff, which reduced the previously imposed 70 per cent duty on premium Washington apples, came into effect in September. Growers fear that the influx of tax-waived Washington apples will disrupt pricing dynamics and harm the local industry. The decision was strongly reacted to by the Kashmir political class claiming the Prime Minister gave up Kashmir’s economic interests for claps.  In response to the uproar over the duty waiver on apples, walnuts and almonds, the government will not result in any negative impact on domestic producers. The government said the withdrawal of additional duty was part of the resolution of six outstanding World Trade Organisation (WTO) disputes between the US and India through Mutually Agreed Solutions agreed in June 2023. “Additional duties of 20 per cent each on apples and walnuts and Rs 20 per kg on almonds were imposed on the US’s products in 2019 over and above the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) duty as retaliation to the US’s state protectionist measure of increasing tariffs on certain steel and Aluminium products,” a PIB handout explained.  “These additional duties were withdrawn as the US agreed to provide market access to Steel and Aluminium products under the exclusion process. There is no reduction on the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) duty on apples, walnuts and almonds, which still applies to all imported products, including US-origin products, at 50 percent, 100 per cent, and Rs 100 per kg, respectively.”

Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Justice N Kotiswar Singh donated over Rs 45 lakh towards Aapda Rahat Kosh — 2023 on behalf of judges, judicial officers and officials and expressed solidarity with the people of Himachal Pradesh who have suffered damages in the monsoon fury.


The reconstituted Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board chairperson Darakhshan Andrabi with the new members.

The High Court dismissed a plea challenging the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board’s order to take over management of all shrines and assets. Board took control on February 17 and April 1 citing the Wakf Act. Associations deemed void. Justice Javed Iqbal upheld the orders, saying the Board rightly invoked the Act and avoided commenting upon the 1985 SRO declaring Ziyarat a Wakf property. The judgment states the Special Officer declared Ziyarat a Wakf property in 1985 per SRO 510, accepted by the government without objections. The petitioner has argued the Board didn’t follow due process like the survey and hearing before the takeover.

26 militants and 10 security personnel were killed in encounters in Rajouri and Poonch in 2023.


Thousand of Gujjar Bakarwals hit the streets in Srinagar on July 25, 2023 marching towards the Governor’s House to defend their Scheduled Tribe (ST) status

All J&K Gujjar Bakkerwals Coordination Committee, an alliance of Gujjar-Bakkerwal groups demand the electoral office reserve seven wards for Scheduled Tribes (STs) in upcoming Jammu Municipal Corporation elections. They said only two of 75 wards have been reserved for them. They said ST inhabited Ward 74 was reserved for SC despite SC’s having only three per cent population, defeating reservation purpose. Groups alleged STs were denied rights under the Forest Rights Act and in development works. They sought ST colonies in both provinces so they could continue traditional livelihoods and save their culture as directed by the Supreme Court.

So far in 2023, 46 militants were killed, 37 of them foreigners


Prime Minister Narender Modi gifted Kashmiri Pashmina Stole in a Papier machie box to the spouse of the president of Brazil and to the spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia on September 9, 2023

During the G20 Summit in Delhi, world leaders received a carefully curated collection of handcrafted Indian artefacts and products as gifts. These items showcased India’s rich cultural traditions and were meticulously crafted by master artisans. The gifts included Kashmiri saffron, Sheesham wood chests with brass accents, Darjeeling and Nilgiri tea, Araku coffee, Kashmiri Pashmina shawls, Sundarbans multiflora mangrove honey, and Zighrana ‘ittar’ (perfume oil) from Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj. Narendra Modi also gifted a Khadi scarf and a coin box with G20 commemorative coins to visiting leaders and presented culturally significant items to their spouses, such as Banarasi silk stoles, Kashmiri Pashmina stoles, and more, each reflecting India’s heritage and craftsmanship.

Srinagar recorded its second-highest temperature in September since 1891 at 34.2°C as the rainfall remained 55mm below average.


High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

In a groundbreaking ruling, the High Court has granted seven female candidates the opportunity “to ascend the peak of their achievement” by becoming Range Officer Grade-I in the forest department, despite falling short of the height requirement. The candidates were initially disqualified due to their height being slightly below the prescribed standard set by the Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC). The court drew parallels with mountaineers who conquered Mount Everest, emphasising that height should not be the sole determinant of capability. The judgment questioned whether gender-neutral physical standards could be imposed for public service appointments and found in favour of the candidates, criticising the JKPSC for its unfair height requirement.

After 35 years of closure, the Arya Samaj has reopened the DAV Public School in downtown Srinagar.


Bilquis Mir, photo by The Print

Bilquis Mir, an accomplished kayaker and international water sports coach, has become the first Indian woman athlete appointed as a jury member for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. As the Director of Water Sports in Jammu and Kashmir, she will play a vital role in evaluating athletes in canoeing, marking a significant achievement for Kashmir sports. Bilquis Mir’s impressive journey includes over 25 national-level medals, serving as the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to coach the national team, and participating in international referee panels. She is committed to promoting water sports and nurturing talent across India.

The High Court has quashed the detention of two religious clerics, Moulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi and Mushtaq Ahmed Veeri, who have been under house detention since September 2022 under the Public Safety Act.


Anantnag’s All-Rounder Rubia Syed Selected for Women’s IPL

Rubia Syed, a talented woman cricketer from south Kashmir, is set to play for the Gujarat Giants in the upcoming season of the Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL). A versatile all-rounder, Rubia bats right-handed and bowls right-arm medium pace. She has represented the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for the past decade, including appearances in the Ranji Trophy and Senior Women’s T-20. Rubia’s selection for the IPL team is a significant achievement, and she credits her father’s unwavering support and her coach Sakeena Akhter for her success. She is the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to join the North Zone team of women’s cricket. Meanwhile, Afreen Hyder created history by winning the first-ever senior silver medal in Kyorugi for Jammu and Kashmir at the 39th National Senior Taekwondo Championships in Guwahati. She fought fiercely against opponents from Rajasthan, Sikkim, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh before losing the final to Kerala.


World-renowned chef Daniel Humm was on a culinary journey to Kashmir from August 1 to August 14, 2023. This photograph shows him having tea at iconic Chai Jai.

Renowned chef Daniel Humm embarked on a culinary adventure in Kashmir. His journey included exploring Srinagar’s Old City and wandering through markets filled with aromatic spices, dried mushrooms, and leafy greens. He visited Senoo Pickles, a haven for diverse pickle varieties, and learned about traditional rose water-making at Arq-i-Gulab Dukaan. Humm ventured to Chai Jaai, a teahouse offering salty noon chai and aromatic kahwah, enriched with gulkand. While absorbing the region’s rich heritage, he remained mindful of the military presence, a stark contrast to his Swiss upbringing. In Dachigam National Park, Humm’s group encountered a black bear, foraged sour plums and forest blackberries, and even took an adventurous plunge into a Himalayan-fed river. This exploration allowed Humm to appreciate the warmth of Kashmiri hospitality, enriched by traditional meals and flavours that resonated deeply with him.


Models Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem with designer Varun Bahl on September 12, at September 12, 2023, at a fashion show titled A Love Letter to Kashmir in a Srinagar hotel.

On the Zabarwan foothills, on September 12, Kashmir origin designer, Varun Bahl showcased his couture collection, A Love Letter to Kashmir and the event was his homage to his ancestors. FICCI FLO Hyderabad was the event partner. Bahl’s father migrated to Delhi in the 1960s. The star attractions were sibling duo Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem. Huma had donned a champagne gold bridal lehenga embroidered with sequin, bugle beads and dabka work, while Saqib Saleem stole hearts in an embroidered black sherwani set with a sheer kurta. The show brought to the runway a line-up of 50 ensembles, worn for the most part by locally cast models. Not less than 100 women had flown from Hyderabad for the show.


VDC members led by BJP leader Sunil Sharma submitting memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday March 2, 2022. Pic: Social Media

Yet again, a government-supplied vintage 303 was used by a Sarpanch to kill his wife, Neelam Devi. Yashpal, the sarpanch of Panchayat Halka Patrara, allegedly fired upon Devi, 46, using a .303 rifle in the Sunderbani area of the district. She died in GMC Jammu. A case has been registered and Yashbal is in police custody. Yashpal is also a VDC member and he is one of hundreds of people armed by the security set-up.


Four truck-borne men were killed after huge rocks moved by landslide hit the vehicle they were travelling-in and the vehicle was pushed into a gorge on the bank of Bislari Nullah at Silad in Sherbibi area of Banihal. Seven cows loaded in the truck which was moving towards Srinagar were also killed. The deceased included two brothers Mohammad Afzal Garoo, 42, and Altaf Garoo, 36, sons of Aziz Garoo, residents of Redwani, Kulgam; Irfan Ahmed, 33 and his brother Showkat, Ahmad, 29, both sons of Abdul Hamid Bhat, resident of Trail, Srigufwara, Anantnag.


Three school-going minor boys have gone missing from Villgam in Handwara area in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on September 12, 2023

Three school-going minor boys went missing from Villgam in Handwara. They were playing together and then they were reported missing. Identified as Nazim Mumtaz, son of Mumtaz Ahmad Lone, resident of Phalmarg, Faizan Hameed Mir, son of Abdul Hameed Mir, resident of Kalmoona and Uzair Ahmad Dar, son of Mohammad Shafi Dar of Chammpora, the families searched them and finally informed the police. Two days later they were traced in Chennai and a police team was dispatched to get them home. How they reached Chennai and what their motivation and experiences may be is an interesting story. It was the cell phone that one of them was carrying that helped police to locate them.


Within days after internal wrangling in the Kashmir BJP over interference of Jammu leaders, the party has issued a show cause notice of senior party leader and former MLC Sofi Yousuf, a founding member of BJP in Kashmir. He has been accused of anti-party activities and indiscipline. Sofi joined the BJP in 1996. Embarrassed, he has threatened to quit the party. “You have tried to create dissent in the party cadre with few more persons and now your audio recording clip has surfaced whose contents depict that you have no regard for party discipline and high principles which are the basis of the political ideology of the party,” the show cause notice reads. He has been given a week to explain his position. “I stick by my stand. We have given blood for BJP and the party belongs to all of us. However, I will not let anybody hijack the Kashmir unit of the BJP and if that happens then I will leave the party,” Yousuf was quoted saying.


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