J&K: People throng to shops ahead of Eid amid COVID-19 lockdown

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): Ahead of Eid-Ul-Fitr, people of Jammu and Kashmir flooded the mutton and bakery shops for making purchases, violating government guidelines amid coronavirus pandemic.

The Union Territory government has so far not announced any relaxation for the festival of Eid during the lockdown already in place. However, people flocked on the streets without face masks and violated social distancing protocols.

 “There were women, men and children waiting for their turn to get mutton and bakery items,” said Adil Rashid, who himself was in a queue at a mutton shop at Safa Kadal area of downtown Srinagar.

Based on the age-old tradition, purchasing mutton and bakery items in bulk are a part of Eid festivities in Kashmir. However, this time around, government put strict measures in place to be maintained while making purchases.

In addition to this, large number of people was also seen outside poultry farms. But the majority of poultry farm owners complained that there was a shortage of stock as the government has fixed a very less price for chicken, as a result the dealers have decided not to sell chicken this year on Eid.

Mutton was sold at Rs 550 per kg against the government rate of Rs 480 and 500 per kg respectively. At many places in Srinagar, mutton was also priced at Rs 600 and even 700 per kg.

Police, however, arrested at least a dozen mutton sellers for selling meat at an exorbitant rate.

 “They don’t know that they are inviting a big trouble for themselves as they can come in contact with any coronavirus positive patient,” a police official said.

An official from district administration, Srinagar, said that market checking squads were constituted a week ahead of Eid and they have taken strict action against some mutton, poultry shop owners and bakers. “People don’t follow guidelines. Actually, there is a notion in Kashmir, wherein Eid without mutton dishes means nothing. Here we can’t help as we can’t book each and every person who wants to buy mutton, chicken and poultry,” he said.