Not Like Other Lockdowns: Kashmir Spends a Quiet Ramzan Amid COVID

This lockdown is different for Kashmir. Amid COVID scare, people in the valley are spending a sombre Ramzan.

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“Kashmir has not witnessed a lockdown like this one. Whether it is in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016 or the one imposed in 2019 after abrogation of Article370.”

Not Like Other Lockdowns: Kashmir Spends a Quiet Ramzan Amid COVID
(Photo Courtesy: Wasim Nabi)

For people in Kashmir, living under lockdown has almost become a way of life. The last one, imposed on 5 August during abrogation of Article 370, stayed for 9 months and saw massive crackdown on politicians, civilians, internet services and freedom of press.

But this lockdown, in tune with the whole country, imposed to contain coronavirus is different for Kashmir. And, it has come during the holy month of Ramzan.

“During other lockdowns, we would at least be allowed to go to the mosques and pray together. Now we cannot do any of that. Nobody is allowed to celebrate the festival together,” Firdous Ahmed, a student in Srinagar said.

Not Like Other Lockdowns: Kashmir Spends a Quiet Ramzan Amid COVID
(Photo Courtesy: Wasim Nabi)

‘Never Seen a More Sombre Ramzan in Kashmir’

Deserted mosques, namaaz from homes and quiet iftars are a never-seen-before sight in Kashmir during Ramzan.

“We would go to the markets to buy new things for our home, or for the masjid. Everyone would sit together, celebrate the festival together It is just a little said that we are not being able to do that this time,” Dawood Ahmad, a student in Srinagar said.

“Yes, we still say our prayers from our homes but worshipping together has a different kind of peace.”
Not Like Other Lockdowns: Kashmir Spends a Quiet Ramzan Amid COVID
(Photo Courtesy: Wasim Nabi)

A freelance journalist in Kashmir, Imran Ali, said, “ I have never read Namaaz at home during Ramzan. It seems we will have to read the Eid namaaz at home too.”

Kashmir has recorded over 900 cases of coronavirus with 11 deaths.

Back-to-Back Lockdowns Have Crippled Economy

Kashmir, which was under lockdown for 9 months, had barely started to crawl back to normalcy when the COVID-19 put the entire country back in their homes. This has brought the newly-created union territory’s economy to a halt. According to a report in Greater Kashmir, an estimate of Rs 150 crore losses daily is looming on Kashmir’s head amid the lockdown.

Not Like Other Lockdowns: Kashmir Spends a Quiet Ramzan Amid COVID
(Photo Courtesy: Wasim Nabi)

Post-August 2019, the valley’s business losses were pegged at Rs 18,000 crore due to clampdown imposed in the wake by abrogation of special status of J&K, according to the report.

But, all hopes for a merrier Ramzan in the valley are not lost.

Sheikh Imran, a teacher in Srinagar, said, “Ramzan will be back next year again. But we should try to take all precautions this year by reading namaz from our homes. We anyway keep roza fast. We should do everything from home so that we can eliminate this COVID-19 pandemic from the entire world.”

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