‘Unprecedented times’: Butchers stare at massive loss this Eid

New Delhi: Butcher Nawab Qureshi got more than a hundred bookings last year for animal sacrifice on Bakrid. This year, there is hardly any work for him due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Farzana Ahmad’s family used to employ a butcher to offer animal sacrifice at their residence in Delhi, but they have other ideas this time.

A number of families in Delhi have decided against offering animal sacrifice on Eid al-Adha on August 1, fearing that the butcher might spread the contagion.

People are afraid

“People are afraid,” Qureshi, who owns a mutton shop in Zakir Nagar, said. “They think butchers might infect them. There are a few bookings and we just hope they don’t cancel on us.”

“We used to have a busy schedule on Bakri Eid,” he said wistfully.

Massive loss

Butchery has taken a hit this time, the 40-year-old said, adding that they were staring at a “massive loss”.

Okhla resident Ahmad said they had asked family members in their village in Siwan, Bihar, to offer sacrifice on their behalf.

“We cannot afford to take the risk. Delhi is one of the worst-hit cities across the world,” she said.

A goat would cost just Rs 5,000 in her village as compared to around Rs 10,000 in Delhi. The remaining amount can be distributed among the lockdown-hit poor, Ahmad said.

Till last year, Huma Afreen offered sacrifice at a demarcated place in her society at Okhla.

Donations in place of sacrifice

The 30-year-old woman has decided to donate Rs 10,000, which she kept aside to buy a goat this year, for the treatment of a kidney patient instead.

“On Bakri Eid, a butcher goes to around 20 houses a day to offer sacrifice. There’s a greater risk of contracting the infection,” she said.

Irkan Ali Chaudhary, a contractor in the area, said offering sacrifice was his “farz” (duty) but “these are unprecedented times”.

“We could not offer a joint namaz with community members on Eid. This time, too, we will offer namaz at home,” the 50-year-old said.

Chaudhary underlined that there was no question of doing something that might jeopardise the well-being of his family.

Shafeeq Qureshi won’t be able to come to Delhi from Utar Pradesh’s Amroha along with other butchers ahead of Bakrid.

Every year, hundreds of butchers come from Amroha, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Muzaffarnagar as they get better prices for their services in the capital — around Rs 2,000 per sacrifice, according to him.

But, there is hardly any work this time, he added.

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