Corona Pandemic and Indian Control Color Lebaran in Kashmir

Khalid Ahamd is usually always busy in his shop before Idul Fitri. But this year he claimed nearly zero sales.

“At the moment there is a big discount. Last year, buyers arrived in line outside the store. This year we are waiting for customers to come,” Ahamd said as quoted by AP News on Friday (5/22).

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In the last week of Ramadan amid a corona virus pandemic. 172 million Indian Muslims are preparing for Eid which is usually filled with shopping activities, Id Prayers, and visits to relatives’ homes.

In many Indian states, Muslims support the call for “no new clothing in Eid al-Fitr”, in the context of solidarity with the poor.

The religious leaders have urged people to stay indoors and avoid large groups on Lebaran, in line with the government’s ban on gathering.

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For one resident in Srinagar, Feroz Ahmed, this is not like the Eid celebrations of the previous year.

“There are many activities during the Eid celebration, but not this year, for the first time,” he said.

“We pray to the Almighty, that these difficult times pass and we are safe and sound.”

Extended lockdowns in India to combat the corona virus pandemic have closed schools, workplaces, transportation and industry.

But travel, security and information restrictions are not new to residents in India-controlled Kashmir.

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More than 7 million residents of the region were forced to stay indoors for months in August last year. When India abandoned turbulent Kashmiri semi-autonomy and imposed a total blackout in communication.

Idulfitri is also usually a joyous event for Omar Farooq, filled with special food and family celebrations.

But this year, the baker cuts the amount of snacks his team produces.

“We have prepared very limited stock. We have also reduced staff. We are not sure whether this will be sold,” he said.

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“We face difficulties because of the corona virus, almost no one on the market, they are mostly in the house.”

On Tuesday (19/5), the most influential Islamic seminary in India, Darul Uloom Deoband, issued a fatwa, or edict, which called on Muslims to perform Id prayers at home, instead of worshiping at the mosque.

The decree said Id Salat must be carried out in the same manner as Friday Prayer which had previously also been done at home.

Despite the recent relaxation of travel restrictions. Religious gatherings and other large gatherings are still banned in India.

The number of confirmed corona virus cases in India has exceeded 100,000 with more than 3,300 reported deaths.

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