Whether or not to eat watermelon, asks Kashmir this Ramzan

As per official data, watermelons worth Rs 5.4 crore were consumed in Kashmir everyday last year in Ramzan

By Suhail Khan

Srinagar: A year after record consumption of watermelons in Kashmir, this Ramzan, the most pertinent question in Kashmiri households remains whether or not to eat them now.

A social media storm ignited by a few tweets from medical doctors, warning against the consumption of adulterated watermelons during Ramzan, sparked widespread confusion and financial strain for watermelon vendors in Kashmir.

The medicos urged people to stop consuming watermelons, which according to them were ripened with chemicals. They claimed that it was not the season of watermelons yet. Amidst the uncertainty, vendors expressed frustration over the financial impact of the controversy, as sales plummeted following the allegations. However, they urged the public to rely on factual information rather than succumbing to social media influence.

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Shabir, a fruit vendor said, acknowledged that watermelon were not currently in season. However, he emphasised that the expert growers are aware of this and ensure that the watermelons are cultivated meticulously in soil that is purely nurtured through natural means.

Abdul Majeed, wholesale fruit seller at Srinagar’s Parimpora fruit mandi, said, if anyone of these doctors come forward and prove that we were selling adulterated watermelons, we will ban its sale across Kashmir.

The fruit vendors have raised serious concerns about the sudden drop in sales after some doctors warned against the consumption. “Our sales have plummeted since these claims surfaced. We urge the public to rely on facts rather than succumbing to the influence of social media influencers,” they said.

Meanwhile, the J&K Food and Drugs Department intervened, collecting samples for testing to verify the claims. The controversy surrounding the safety of watermelons came to an end, with the Food Safety Department of Kashmir stating that all test reports have come out positive.

Speaking to Siasat.com, deputy commissioner of the Food Safety Department, Shugufta Jalal, said, “We assured the public that the experts in food technology have concluded that watermelon consumption is absolutely safe.”

Jalal further stated that the department is committed to maintaining stringent food safety standards and preventing misinformation from causing panic.

Notably, Kashmir broke all records of watermelon sales during the previous Ramzan. As per official data, Watermelons worth Rs 5.4 crore were consumed in Kashmir everyday last year in Ramzan.

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