For 30 years, Ali Muhammad Dar captured the colours of Srinagar’s famous Mughal Gardens on his camera: smiling tourists posing against the brilliant yellow, blue, green and red around.
But the state has now declared him too old to click. In his fifties, Dar is jobless because the state government, in a curious decision in 2008, laid down eligibility criteria for photographers. According to the new rules, photographers older than 37 cannot enter the Mughal Gardens.
"The government policy is to pave way for jobs for unemployed youth," said G Sarwar Naqash, state director of floriculture, adding that a licence was now necessary to click.
More than 60 photographers have been barred from entering the gardens.
"This is injustice. We have served Kashmir tourism for decades and are now jobless," said Amin Rather, who owns a shop in Nishat Bagh, one of the Mughal Gardens.
Photographers, who protested the state’s ruling on Monday, have also moved court in an effort to get back to doing what they know best: turning a memory into a picture postcard.