Srinagar: Sacrificial Animal sellers in Kashmir have witnessed a huge dip in the sale of animals as the business contracted due to COVID-19. This is the second consecutive year the Eid-Ul-Adha or Bakrid is curbed due to the pandemic.
Muslims around the world mark Eid-Ul-Adha on the 10th of the Islamic month of Dhu’l Hijjah by offering special prayers and sacrificing animals, usually a goat, sheep, a cow, or a camel, to commemorate the Sunnat of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S).
“There is a downfall of around 40 per cent in the sale of sacrificial animals. This is primarily due to the outbreak of COVID-19; lack of business is pushing us into losses,” said Abid Ahmad who sells animals in the Eidgah area of Srinagar City.
Not many people are buying sacrificial animals as Kashmir witnessed a huge economic loss due to COVID-19-induced lockdown which is estimated to be Rs.10000 crore as per the data assessed by trade and commerce bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Economic loss is not the only reason; the pandemic has also dampened the spirits of people to buy the sacrificial animals,” Gh. Nabi Bhat, a native of Nawakadal area of Srinagar city.
“We sacrificed two sheep on Eid-ul-Adha, but after the COVID outbreak, we have come down to one animal. I also fear if people will now accept a portion of meat or not,” says Suheel Ahmad, who hails from the Ompora area of Budgam district.
Earlier, a letter was issued by the Director Planning, state animal and sheep husbandry calling for the ‘ban on slaughtering of bovine and sacrificial animals’ which received a large criticism from netizens across the valley.
The order invited condemnation from J&K politicians and Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU). MMU in its statement expressed resentment against the government’s ban on the sacrifice of bovine animals on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha.
The MMU said it was surprising that the sacrifice of bovine animals on the religious occasion of Eid is being termed illegal and disallowed under the garb of prevention of cruelty to the Animal Rights Act.
The letter reads, “large numbers of sacrificial animals are likely to be slaughtered in the UT of J&K during the Bakra Eid festival scheduled from 21-23 July 2021 and the Animal Welfare Board of India, in view of animal welfare, has requested for implementation of all precautionary measures to strictly implement the Animal Welfare Laws viz. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; Transport of Animal Welfare Rules, 1978; Transport of Animals (Amendment) Rules, 2001; Slaughter House Rules, 2001; Municipal Laws & Food Safety & Standards Authority of India directions for the slaughtering of animals (under which camels cannot be slaughtered) during the festival.”
The letter further says that “I am directed to request you to take all preventive measures as per the provisions of acts & rules referred above for implementation of the animal welfare laws, to stop the illegal killing of animals & to take stringent action against the offenders violating animal welfare laws.”
Later, divisional commissioner Kashmir P.K Pole terms the letter as misconstrued and said that: “There is no ban on slaughter and sale of sacrificial animals in the Kashmir valley. It’s a religious obligation done in memory of Prophet Ismail (AS) and we need to respect it.”
“Administration facilitates entry of sacrificial animals at Lower Munda into Kashmir after proper testing etc. “We also, test poultry birds for bird flu before allowing them to enter into the Valley,” Pole added.
He said that the killing of bovine animals has been banned in Kashmir for a long and it’s not done here. Divisional Commissioner said that the administration is providing full support to facilitate the import of sheep, goat, and poultry to Kashmir on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha.