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Easing of Covid restrictions helps traders do some business on Eid eve          

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Srinagar: Easing of the COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Eid-ul-Azha in Kashmir has helped the business fraternity make up for some of the losses they have suffered since August 2019 due to back-to-back curfew and lockdowns.

The Eid shoppers returned to markets, thronging bakeries and garment shops in the city and elsewhere in the Valley, as Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated on Wednesday.

However, the main economic activity was centred around the purchase of sacrificial animals — mostly sheep and goats — as Muslims across the world prepare to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, a tradition following Prophet Ibrahim (AS), who had offered to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS) to fulfill Allah’s command.

The animal sales have been brisk but still not at par with the 2018 levels, livestock dealers said.

“We rear our flock for the year in the hope of making some money on the eve of Eid. The last two years were devastating as the sales were next to nothing. However, this year, I have sold 75 percent of my stock,” Ghulam Din Khatana, a resident of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, said.

Khatana is hopeful that he will be heading home on Wednesday or early Thursday “without having to care for any sheep”.

While the Eid celebrations in 2019 were muted due to a curfew imposed across Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution just a week before the festival, several restrictions in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 saw business activity remaining almost suspended.

Irfan Ahmad, the managing director of Modern Sweets and Confectionery, said the sales have improved this year.

“There was a lot of confusion ahead of Eid as regards whether the restrictions will be more stringent or eased. The easing of the restrictions has come in the nick of time,” he said.

Ahmad, however, said most of the city bakeries had cut down on production as they were not expecting much of a footfall.

While last year health experts had advised against distribution of meat on Eid, this year they have asked people to allow only those vaccinated against Covid handle the ritual of sacrifice and meat distribution. (With PTI inputs)

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