Flood Fury Casts Shadow Over Eid Fervour

5 October 2014
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: The busiest market place in Kashmir should have been bustling with shoppers preparing for Eid, but on the eve of the festival the historic city centre Lal Chowk presents a scene of devastation, much like the rest of the flood-hit Valley. The shopkeepers who would have been busy selling their goods are faced with the task of starting their business from scratch as they clean their outlets while trying to retrieve anything untouched by the flood waters. The shops are empty and the furniture has been left in the open to dry. Spoilt goods from the shops lie scattered - the scene in every market and lane in the area. The branded merchandise which once used to be showcased on the shelves of these shops is now littering the ground with the streets. 'My shop is on the ground floor. The waters entered the shop drowning the full storey,' Ghulam Muhammad, who runs a Kashmir crafts showroom, said. Riyaz Ahmad has a ready-made garments shop nearby. 'I have suffered a loss of around Rs 20 lakh. There is hardly anything that has survived flood fury,' he said. Meanwhile, the sale of sacrificial animals has also gone down this Eid with people struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. According to mutton dealers, this year there has been 70% slump in the sales compared to last year. President Mutton Retailers Association Khazir Muhammad Regoo said due to floods they have suffered huge losses. 'We had already purchased stock for marriages which remains unsold. Due to floods, the trucks carrying sheep had to be transported from Kishtwar. We had to pay extra freight. Now we have to sell them at cheaper prices due to low demand,' Regoo told Rising Kashmir. Many people said they are unlikely to buy sheep-goat to offer the ritual sacrifice. 'Till September 25, flood water was in our house. The minibus vehicle which I was driving was also in water. I had to pay Rs 35000 to repair the vehicle. It will be difficult to purchase a lamb this Eid,' said Rameez Ahmad of Qamarwari. Muslims offer animal sacrifices on Bakr Eid or Eid ul Azha to mark readiness of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son Ismail to fulfil Allah's command before He intervened and sent a lamb for sacrifice instead. It also marks the culmination of annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Kashmir would be witnessing a sombre Eid given that lakhs of families have been affected by the flood fury. The floods have claimed 281 lives - 196 in Jammu province and 85 in Kashmir Valley. Sales of bakery products have also dropped significantly this Eid. 'Our shop used to witness huge rush of customers ahead of Eid, but this year there are no buyers,' said Irshad Beig, proprietor of a bakery shop. Both separatist and mainstream politicians have urged people to observe Eid with austerity.