Unlike other Muslim majority states across the world where Ramadan is celebrated as a month of charity and goodness, Kashmiris (read businessmen) go out of their way to make a killing out of people’s helplessness.
Unfortunately in Kashmir the Ramadan has become synonymous with black marketing, hoarding, unjustified price rise, sale of substandard, fleecing of helpless customers and what not.
This year too with the onset of Ramadan the prices of essential commodities like milk, mutton, vegetables, fuel, sugar etc. skyrocketed, making lives of common people miserable.
It has become an unsaid trend that things will be costlier in Ramadan. And the attitude of these businessmen who manage, regulate, control and decide prices of these commodities adds insult to the injury. Irony is that nobody dares to question these mafia bosses who make merry in the name of religion.
In last 20 days of Ramadan the officials of state Consumer Affair and Public distribution department along with the representative of Metrology Department realised just Rs 2.18 lakh from shopkeepers across Kashmir as fine.
This is not even the tip of iceberg. In Srinagar alone business worth crores is done on a daily basis during this month. And most of this money is spent on essentials. But without any threat from government agencies who have mandate to check black marketing and enforce uniformity in prices, wholesalers and retailers change prices at will.
The helplessness of the government can be gauged by the fact that it failed to enforce mutton prices even after taking a visibly tough stance towards mafia. After month long standoff it was the mutton mafia that triumphed. Throughout Kashmir mutton continues to sell for Rs 340 per kilogram despite government setting the upper limit at Rs 298.
There have been instances when people were forced to buy essentials like vegetable on 300 per cent hiked prices during Ramadan.
With Eid-ul-Fitur just a few days away, markets across Kashmir are abuzz with shoppers. But again there is no one who could stop these leaches from sucking the hole in common mans pocket. A local newspaper reported yesterday that a slipper that in normal times would have cost just Rs 150 was sold for Rs 500. Maybe a Ramadan special price!
In the garb of special offers and Eid special sale shopkeepers across Kashmir particularly in Srinagar loot shoppers of their hard earned money.
In other parts of the world (read civilized societies) a sale or a discount or a special offer means reduction in original prices but in Muslim majority Kashmir it means broad daylight loot.
While Muslims across the world wait for holy month of Ramadan to seek forgiveness from divine for their sins, Kashmiris are on a rampage.