Pardeep Singh Bali
For the first time in last many decades, the Muslims in Kashmir were hampered to celebrate the festival of Eid, courtesy separatists.
The usual festivities that mark the eve of Eid-ul Azha are missing in Kashmir where markets today wore a deserted look as normal life remain paralysed due to continued violence and shutdown since July.
This is probably the first time in the Kashmir history that the people had to celebrate Eid in confinements of their homes, with very less fanfare.
While a fair number of private vehicles were plying on some roads, especially the city, shops and business establishments remained closed during day time due to the strike called by separatists.
The massive footfall of customers at bakeries, sweets shops and garment stores, a usual sight on the festival eve, remained missing with all these outlets closed.
The local traders cursed the separatists, for not even sparing festivals.
“Indian forces never barred Kashmiris to celebrated festivals, but it is unfortunate that separatists, without considering the importance of the day scheduled strike on this day as well,” said local trader, adding, “Our sale is around 10 per cent of what it used to be on the eve of Eid-ul Azha. I do not think there is any chance of it picking up with less than 24 hours left for the festivities,” a livestock dealer said.
Normal life in Kashmir Valley has been badly affected since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir.
As many as 76 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands others injured in clashes with security forces over the past 65 days.
Authorities are expected to strengthen the security, which might include imposing curfew and restrictions in parts of Kashmir, tomorrow to foil the separatist plan to march to the local office of the United Nations Military Observers Group to seek implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir.
The separatists have called the rally to coincide with the 71st session of UN General Assembly which begins in New York tomorrow.
As the separatists have been relaxing the shutdown in evening hours on most of the days, shoppers are expected to turn up in the markets later in the day.
However, groups of youth have been fanning out in different markets and forcing shutdown during the relaxation period in the past.