Gloomy Eid For Kashmiris Post Deadly Floods
Eid was always a major festival in Kashmir, but this year, the destruction has taken the joy
NEW DELHI: It is a gloomy Eid in Jammu and Kashmir with the flood ravaged population still struggling to cope with the disaster.
Some Kashmiris are trying earnestly hard to be a part of the gaiety on the occasion of Eid but for most it is certainly not a season to cheer.
Afroza, 36, never thought even in her dreams that while the world would be celebrating the Muslim festival, she would staying in a makeshift tent. Afroza’s house was washed away by the floods on September 6 when the river Jhelum water changed course and inundated her entire neighborhood in South Kashmir’s Dahrun village.
“I cannot forget that night when my house crumbled to strong water currents and everything I possessed, a lifetime was washed away” Afroza said to The Citizen.”We watched everything, our dreams were shattered, but there was nothing we could do beyond saving our lives,” she added.
Afroza’s story is echoed by thousands of families in Kashmir who lost their houses to the floods and are now living in temporary shelters provided by the State Government and local volunteers.
The losses have been immense, and although the flood waters have receded, the destruction is huge. People have lost entire businesses, including stocks of decades.
Eid was always a major festival here, when politics would come to a standstill so that the people could celebrate. But the destruction has taken the joy out of the festival, with in fact the well to do in Srinagar amongst the hard hit. The water is being pumped out of the more elite localities of the state capital that were totally submerged in the floods.
“The flood has robbed us off everything. There is no hustle bustle, people are on streets struggling to live, how can we celebrate” said Zufiqar Hussain, who runs a business establishment in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk area. The losses in this Srinagar business hub have not even been calculated, but every single shop and its stocks has been completely destroyed. A smell of rot and decay has taken over the city, with little for the people to hope for at the moment.
People used to buy new dresses on Eid, and offer gifts but this year, the markets are dry as most of the stores have lost their stocks to floods all over the state.
“Eid used to bring bumper sales for us but the flood has ravaged everything. People have no money to celebrate, and we have nothing really to sell any more,” said Syed Tanveer, who runs the cloth store “Shahi Libas” in South Kashmir’s Anantnag main market.
According to official sources, the demand of sacrificial animals has gone down by 30% with people still trying to come to terms with the floods that wreaked havoc in Kashmir.
"Normally 10 to 12 lakh sheep and goats are sold (for sacrifice) on Eid but This year however there is 30% drop in the sales," KK Sharma, Director, Sheep Husbandry Department Kashmir said to reporters in Srinagar.
Reports suggest that the Kashmir floods, which claimed 291 lives, have affected 12.5 lakhs with many of the villages entirely submerged.