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Kashmir gripped by Id fever as problems take backseat
indo asian news service
Srinagar, 8 August
With tastefully decorated markets, pavement vendors spreading goods right to the middle of the road, long queues before bakery shops, self-indulgent buyers and unscrupulous traders, Id shopping has reached a fever pitch here as  other problems afflicting the state has taken a back seat.
Despite the border tension between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, locals appear to put their worries behind them as they prepare to celebrate Id-ul-Fitr.
Muslims celebrate Id-ul-Fitr at the end of the fasting month of Ramzan.
Two days ahead of the festival, shoppers hit the markets early Wednesday morning looking for bakery products, mutton, chicken, vegetables and other essentials of life.
As shoppers indulge in panic buying, the traders dictate prices because the administration does little more than setting up market checking teams which shop for their families as they go around, apparently "checking the markets".
A few traders are even booked to provide material for official press releases that assert that the prices are under
control.
"Why not? After all Id comes but once every year. As occasions for joy and festivities are otherwise also few and far between, Kashmiris naturally do not want to spoil their mood by haggling over prices, etc," college principal Muzaffar Ahmad told IANS.
Children, accompanied by parents buying firecrackers and readymade garments are a common sight in the local markets.
Women carrying shopping bags more than they can handle is another common sight in departmental stores of the city.
Interestingly, the affluent local middle-class forms the majority of shoppers at the city’s high-end departmental stores, where plastic currency is used for almost 90 percent of transactions.
For the past few years the locals have been contributing significantly to orphanages and other philanthropic causes in the city.
"Since Kashmir has seen the worst type of violence during the past 23 years, it is natural for people to seek more solace in religion and morality than they did before the turmoil," said Mr Farah Qayoom, who teaches sociology at Kashmir University.
To manage the choked roads and streets in the city, the traffic police have announced an elaborate roadmap on the eve of Id.
Given the prevailing confusion on the roads, it appears the traffic police do not want to spoil the festivities by strictly enforcing regulations during the festival.