Rajasthani animal traders find greener pastures in Kashmir

Rajasthani animal traders find greener pastures in Kashmir

Srinagar: Many animal traders from mainland India, particularly from Rajasthan, have ventured into Kashmir valley on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha, with the hope of making better earning than in the Covid-affected market back home.

These traders mainly bring sheep, goats, and camels to sell them off here in Kashmir, either directly or through the locals already into animal trade. The valley usually witnesses huge demand for sacrificial animals ahead of Eid.

The biggest animal market in Kashmir is the Eidgah in Srinagar. This year, a large number of outsiders, particularly from Rajasthan, can be seen selling sheep at the market.

“We could not make any substantial sales last year in wake of Covid and this year as well, things looked bleak back home. One of my friends told me about this Sikri breed of sheep being in huge demand here in Kashmir and I took the chance,” said one of the traders, who said his name was Ashok, from Rajasthan.

He added that he has not been disappointed so far. “I have made good sales, sold almost all the livestock I had brought in.”

Others Kashmir Reader talked to said that they have been coming to Kashmir on eve of Eid for many years now and have made good profits.

“I have been coming here for more than 5 years now. I either sell the livestock myself or contact some local dealer, who sells them for me,” Abhijeet Meena said.

Kashmir witnesses sales of sacrificial animals to the tune of around 500 crore rupees every year on Eid. The market was a little cold in 2020 owing to the pandemic but things look good this time for local traders as well as outsiders venturing into Kashmir.

The addition of the camel to the list of animals sold for sacrifice has been a recent one. The camelis mostly brought to Kashmir by traders from the mainland.

“Camel meat falls in between mutton and meat of bovine animals, price-wise,” a local mutton dealer, Ghulam Rasool Ganaie, told Kashmir Reader. “Some people in Kashmir prefer the animal for sacrificial purpose given its religious significance,” he added.

The camel trade this year came under a bit of a cloud after the administration imposed a ban on the sacrifice of bovine animals and the ship of the desert. The ban was revoked later.

“I have been selling camels here for a couple of years now and I was dead worried after I came to know about the ban, because it would have meant taking the camels back home,” Zahid Khan, also from Rajasthan, told Kashmir Reader.

All these traders pledge to come to Kashmir every Eid, with enhanced livestock, in the future. “We make good money here and the people are really friendly,” Ashok said. “This was my first time but I will make sure it was not the last.”

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