SRINAGAR: For the second consecutive year, people are celebrating Eid under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir. This will be another addition to the list of miseries that people have been facing here for many years now.
The Eid namaz, one of the main components of the festival, will be held locally and not at all the main religious places like Jamia Masjid Srinagar, due to measures put in place for Covid prevention. Religious scholars, medicos, and administrators have all asked people to wear masks, and maintain distance whenever they are in a crowd.
As per the traditional ritual, people hug and kiss each other after the prayers to express their greetings. This time, it has to be avoided again, as per the Covid SOPs.
Sacrificing of an animal immediately after the prayers, which is the heart of the festival that is observed in memory of the Prophet Abraham (PBUH) who was ready to kill his son Prophet Ismail (PBUH) on the commandment of Allah, will also be done under government regulations.
As per the administration, only vaccinated people should do the sacrifice. And only vaccinated butchers should be allowed to do the rest of the ritual of sacrifice. In Islam, one has to either stand before the animal, or place his/her hand on the animal, for the sacrifice. This brings at least three people in close contact: butcher, his help, and the one who is doing the sacrifice. Now these three will have to somehow maintain the distance prescribed for Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
“So, being vaccinated is important,” said a senior medico in Srinagar.
Jammu and Kashmir has so far seen two waves of Covid-19 in which many lakhs of people have been infected and many thousands have died. This time, though, the wave is at its lowest ebb.
However, there is still no Eid rush in the markets. Businessmen speak of losses suffered due to the slump in the market. For the head of the largest representative body of traders — Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) — Muhammad Yaseen Khan, all types of businesses including of sacrificial animals, poultry, bakery, clothing, saw 90 percent less sales compared to the previous years.
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Kashmir Nasir-ul-Islam, has appealed people to desist from sacrificing costly animals, and instead spare the money for the needy. People must observe Eid with simplicity, he has said.