SRINAGAR: “Bakrid is about sacrifice and this Eid, we will sacrifice ourselves because our lives are the only thing that the government is yet to take away. We have been robbed of our rights, even basic rights. What will we celebrate this time and with whom?” wondered Ghulam Mehmood.
Many others here echoed Ghulam. This Eid-ul-Zuha will be the first big test for security forces as well as the locals after the annulling of special privileges under Article 370.
The fact that this is the first Eid in the last 30 years when all modes of communication have been disabled is adding to anxiety among the locals.
While the local administration has been making announcements that it will help people offer Eid namaz, fear, tension and uncertainty are palpable.
Under normal circumstances, a few days before Eid, people visit their loved ones and relatives. But this time, people have been unable to even contact their relatives and family members.
Those either studying or working outside Kashmir usually visit their families on Eid. But this time, many have chosen to stay away. And the lucky ones who managed to contact their family members living outside Kashmir asked them not come home.
Despite Friday being largely peaceful, the tension was evident as very few came out to offer namaz because of restrictions. The historic Hazratbal shrine, which is generally flooded with people on Fridays, had a handful who offered namaz.
Also, not one woman went to the shrine last Friday, though it otherwise witnesses a sizeable gathering of women on normal days.
Auto driver Mushtaq Wani, a regular visitor of Hazratbal, laughed when asked about Eid.
“We have been turned into ghosts in our own place. Kashmir never felt this way during Eid, not even during Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016 or the early nineties when militancy was at its peak. What are we being punished for?” the 78-year-old Wani asked.
Cattle traders have taken a big hit as there are few takers for their goats and sheep.
Festival buzz missing in Kashmir
The buzz around Eid was missing despite curbs being slowly eased. Most markets in the Valley remained shut. With difficulty, people managed to navigate their way past the barricades to buy essentials