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Kashmiris shop for Eid a week in advance as no curfew in the valley

Monday, September 06, 2010 01:45:12 PM, IANS

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Srinagar: Kashmiris Sunday started their Eid shopping a week before the festival as there was no curfew in the Valley. Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani modified his call for a shutdown Monday and asked the people to resume normal activities in the afternoon.

In a statement here Sunday, Geelani said in view of the Shab-e-Qadr being observed Monday night, Kashmiris must resume their normal life from 2 p.m. onwards on Monday.

As per the earlier protest calendar issued by him as part of his group's 'Quit Kashmir' campaign, Geelani had appealed for a complete Valley shutdown Monday and asked the people to resume normal activities only Sunday. A shutdown has also been announced for Tuesday and Wednesday.

'The calendar has been modified to enable people make purchases for the holy Shab-e-Qadr tomorrow (Monday),' Geelani said in his statement Sunday evening.

Muslims throughout the world engage in nightlong prayers thronging mosques during Shab-e-Qadr which is the holiest night as per the Muslim belief.

The hardline leader had also asked people to resume normal life Sunday to facilitate Eid shopping, which Geelani stressed should be done with utmost austerity because of the death of 65 people in the ongoing unrest in the Valley that started June 11.

Till late Sunday evening, almost all the markets in the Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and other towns of the Valley were abuzz with shoppers as they picked up essential items for Eid-ul-Fitr which falls around Sep 11 after the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Most of the roads in Srinagar witnessed traffic jams as police tried to regulate the movement of vehicles.

People were seen shopping and some educational institutions were open despite it being a Sunday.

'This happens only in Kashmir. Who would believe it is a public holiday today? Shops, other businesses, public transport and some educational institutions are functioning here,' said Abdul Gani Bhat, 51, a local businessman.

'Anyway, it's nice to see people going around to shop for the coming Eid-ul-Fitr,' Bhat added.

Pavement vendors were out in strength to to sell merchandise like woollens, garments, fruits and dates.

'One never knows whether we would be able to sell goods tomorrow or the day after. It is better to make hay while the sun shines,' said Mehraj-ud-Din, a fruit seller on the Residency Road.

Even poultry and mutton shops did some brisk business after almost three months of shutdowns, curfews and protests.

The hardline separatists have been issuing protest calendars on a weekly basis for the last three months and the authorities have responded to these by imposing curfews and restrictions in most parts of the Valley.

With the separatists withdrawing their protest programme for a day, authorities did not impose curfew anywhere in the Valley Sunday.

'This has happened after almost three months. For the last three months, there were curfews in certain parts and restrictions in other parts to prevent violence by stone pelting mobs here,' said Bashir Ahmad, 58, a veterinarian.

'The magic of Eid-ul-Fitr could be seen at work everywhere in the Valley today as the people went about their daily chores without any fear,' he said.

Ahmad himself had come with his family form Kashmir's Ganderbal district for Eid shopping in Srinagar.

The separatists have also appealed to the people that they should not buy any fire crackers because of the unrest in the Valley.

'That is definitely going to deprive the children of some of their fun this Eid. But, it is fair enough not to use fire crackers this Eid. After all, 65 locals, including teenagers and youth, have lost lives in the last three months,' said Ahmad.

Ahmad's 15-year old son, Wasim, did not insist on buying any fire crackers this Eid.

'He understands the pain and suffering which is written on every face in the valley,' Ahmad said.

Authorities did not impose any curfew or restrictions here Saturday as well to ensure people could preparing for Eid festivities.

 


 

 

 

 

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