The beef ban row has taken its toll on the sale of the sacrificial bovine animals in Srinagar ahead of Eid-ul-Adha being celebrated this week.
Farooq Ganaie from Nagbal Yusmarg is selling sheep at Eidgah for the first time. Earlier, he used to sell only young calves and buffaloes.
“I have few animals at home but I have not put then in an open sale here,” said Farooq.
Beef is preferred over sheep in rural areas in Kashmir. Even for Eid-ul-Azha, the rural areas mostly slaughter calves and buffaloes.
In religious convention, a goat or sheep qualifies a single person for the sacrificial obligations while a bovine animal qualifies seven people.
“I can’t afford a separate sheep or goat individually for every family member,” said Ahmad Shafat who lives in Chadoora and has already bought a bullock.
Like Farooq, there are hundreds of shepherds selling their sacrificial animals especially sheep at various places in Srinagar.
Sacrificial animals are sold at Eidgah – largest market for sacrificial animals- Kaka Sarai, Soura, Bohri Kadal, Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, Rainawari near Zindshah Masjid, Nishat near parking, Barzulla near Bridge, Rawalpora and Tengpora Batamalo Chowk.
The love for sacrificial animal can be gauged from the fact that shepherds have kept names for their animals.
When any buyer visits Khaleed Dar, a shepherd selling sheep at Eidgah, he calls his assistant to bring Shehra or Gabbar or Farbea—names he has given to his sheep.
Dealers flout government rates
There have been many complaints regarding selling of sacrificial animals at exorbitant rates in Srinagar. Although government has fixed Rs 170 per kg for live goat and sheep but it is sold from Rs 200 per kg to Rs 400 per kg in Srinagar markets.