Eid was perhaps never so subdued in Kashmir. Celebrations this year turned out to be extremely low key. Ahead of scrapping Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the entire region was locked down and faced a total communication blackout. Landline and mobile phone services were suspended indefinitely and the internet remained shut. In a historic decision taken by the Parliament, the erstwhile state of J&K has now been split into two union territories -Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Like in any other part of the world, Eid is celebrated in Kashmir with much pomp and grandeur. The markets and bakeries are adorn with Eid shopping materials and are alive with the activities of people thronging them. But this year turned out to be a complete opposite. This year, the markets were dipped in silence and nobosy knows what’s going to happens after Eid.
Very few bakeries opened briefly in Srinagar and remained almost vacant. This year also saw a significant drop in the sale of sheep. Shepherds took their packs of sheep to different places, but all in vain as there weren’t any takers. The main sheep market for Eid at the Idgah in Srinagar was not even 10 per cent of what is usually is on the day of the festival.
Ali Mohammad, a shepherd who rears sheep for sale during Eid for more than a year said that he had slashed the prices this year, but that didn’t lure him any buyers.
“On a normal day the sheep would fetch Rs. 2,000. Today I am selling them for just Rs. 1,000,” he said.
Most people who would otherwise buy 2-3 animals on Eid are buying just one. “We are buying just one sheep this year. Since it is a religious obligation, I’m buying this one sheep else I usually buy 2 sheep in normal times,” said Mohammad Ali who bought a sheep in Eidgah grounds in Srinagar.