The first day of the holy month of Ramadan was observed across Kashmir valley with Muslims fasting from dawn to dusk amid the rising fear of coronavirus. "Last year due to Covid-19 pandemic, we missed a big chance to offer congregational Namaz in mosques due to the lockdown but this year a good gathering is seen in most of the mosques," said one of the local Abdul Rashid.
A management committee member of a mosque, Mohammed Yaqoob, said: "Committees have been set up by the mosque heads to ensure that no one enters without a mask and social distancing is being maintained."
He said that mass 'iftar' functions have been cancelled. On the first day of Ramadan, the streets of Srinagar city, particularly in Lal chowk, used to bustle with shoppers but this year these streets wore a deserted look. The traders had brought varieties of eatables for the month of Ramadan but were finding it difficult to find a customer.
The dates usually used to be in high demand during this holy month and dealers used to import hundreds of varieties of dates from the Gulf countries. Noor-u- din Wani, a very popular date seller in Srinagar city says, "We used to sell 50% of our stock in the first three days but so far not even 10% has been sold.”
He said: "Last year we also suffered huge losses in business but we had high hopes this year."
Another dry fruit dealer Adil Ahmed said: "The hustle-bustle in the market is missing. People are scared to come out of their homes and the economic condition is also worse so the business is not as it used to be."
The ulemas and the muftis have termed the holy month as the biggest opportunity for people to pray in abundance and ask Allah to save humankind from the pandemic. Islamic scholar Moulana Shams Tahir says, "People should not lower their guards down while offering Namaz in mosques."
He said: "Covid guidelines suggested by the health experts should be followed in letter and spirit."