Kashmir is staring at a subdued Eid-ul Azha festival on Tuesday in view of the ongoing shutdown sponsored by the separatists, which has been paralysing normal life in the Valley since July 9.
On the eve of one of the biggest festivals, the usual festivities that mark Eid were missing on Monday in the valley where markets wore a deserted look as normal life remain paralysed.
Though the separatists have been relaxing the strike in the evening hours of most of the days, groups of youth have been fanning out in different markets and forcing shutdown during the relaxation period in the past.
These activities of the youth prompted even hardline Hurriyat Conference to issue a statement, asking people to follow the protest programme in letter and spirit.
“Hurriyat has taken a strong note of some youth compelling the shopkeepers for shutdown during the relaxation time. Hurriyat has clarified once again that this period is part of the programme and is meant to get the essential commodities ... whosoever violates the joint programme is not a well wisher,” Hurriyat said.
The separatist groups, which have extended the strike call till September 16, have urged people to observe Eid with austerity.
Shops and business establishments remained closed during the day due to the strike called by separatists even though a fair number of private vehicles were plying on some roads, especially the city centre Lal Chowk and adjoining areas.
The massive footfall of customers at bakeries, sweets shops and garment stores, a usual sight on the festival eve, was missing with all these outlets closed.
One of the famous confectionery-cum-bakery on the upmarket Residency Road -- Modern Sweets -- stuck a poster outside its store reading: ‘No bakery available on Eid’.
Sale of sacrificial animals is going on at many places in the city but very less than normal.
“Our sale is around 10 per cent of what it used to be on the eve of Eid-ul Azha. I do not think there is any chance of it picking up with less than 24 hours left for the festivities,” said Altaf Ahmad, a livestock dealer.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has also ordered a shutdown of internet services of all telecom networks and also mobile communications except of state-run BSNL for the next 72 hours as a precautionary measure.
Separatists have given a call for a march to the local office of the United Nations Military Observers Group on Tuesday to seek implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir, which is likely to be scuttled by the government by putting in place strict security measures.
Normal life in Kashmir Valley has been badly affected since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir.
As many as 76 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands others injured in clashes with security forces over the past 65 days.