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In Eid bazaar, sacrificial sheep sell like hot cakes

By F. Ahmed, IANS

Srinagar : As shopping for Eid-ul-Zuha reaches a feverish pitch in Jammu and Kashmir, animal markets overflowing with sacrificial sheep and goat are the most thronged places here these days.

Sarfraz Khan, 42, has come to summer capital Srinagar’s main animal market at the Eidgah lawns with his flock of sheep and goats from the Rajouri district in the Jammu region.

His well-fed, fattened flock is selling like hot cakes as Muslims buy sheep and goats to be offered as sacrifice on Eid-ul-Zuha, a Muslim festival to be celebrated Friday.

Muslims all around the world offer animal sacrifices on Eid-ul-Zuha in deference to Prophet Ibrahim who agreed to slaughter his son Ismail on Allah’s command. Pleased with his devotion, Allah is believed to have accepted a sacrifice of sheep.

“Thousands of sheep and goats are sold here daily. I have myself sold more than 200 animals so far. I tender my flock of sheep and goats with the best fodder and feed to sell them at a premium on Eid-ul-Zuha,” Sarfraz said as he carefully counted another packet of cash he received from a buyer.

The state administration has set up around 10 animal sale outlets in Srinagar city, which sell sheep reared by the local sheep husbandry department.

“But you get the best quality sheep from the Eidgah market,” said Mehraj-ud-din, who bought two sheep from Sarfraz at the Eidgah lawns.

Mehboob Iqbal, divisional commissioner of Kashmir, said: “The buyers are approximately paying Rs.80-90 per kg of the live weight of the sheep and goat and that is a reasonable rate. We have made special arrangements to ensure the Eid shoppers are not overcharged.”

Dozens of market checking teams headed by executive magistrates can be seen at many places checking markets as shoppers jostle with each other at bakeries, poultry, mutton and cooking gas outlets.

“The markets are well stocked with essential items like vegetables, poultry, mutton, bakery, kerosene and cooking gas. All we need is a little buyer discipline so that nobody jumps the rate lists fixed for these commodities,” said Afadul Mujtaba, senior superintendent of police here.

As maximum temperatures during the day dropped to just four degrees Celsius and the minimum to minus 2.4 degrees, hosiery shops selling woollens are another chief attraction for the buyers.

“Hosiery shops have announced special sale discounts on this Eid. I availed myself of an offer where you buy three jerseys and take four free. That was a real bargain,” said Muhammad Shafi Khan, 42, a government employee here.

Pedestrian malls in the city have been converted into makeshift markets by vendors selling readymade garments, sweetmeats, shoes and bakery.

This has further squeezed the roads in this city which otherwise also remain blocked by heavy traffic.

“During the festive period we have to be a little lenient,” said Abdul Hamid Bhat, senior superintendent of traffic police.

Shoppers in cars, SUVs and other modes of conveyance can be seen negotiating their way out of overcrowded markets in the city.

As roads and shops bustle with life and lights till late evening it appears that for once Kashmiris have put all their troubles behind.

“Rightly so. You see Eid comes but once a year. So it is a merry time for everybody,” said Abid, 15, buying firecrackers in the Maharaja Bazar of the city.

(F.Ahmed can be contacted at [email protected])