Lacklustre Eid al-Adha celebrations amid pandemic

New Delhi: The usual fervour surrounding Eid al-Adha celebrations was missing on Saturday in view of the coronavirus pandemic that has severely hit livestock sale for the festival of sacrifice and forced many to stay at home.
For the limited number of faithful who gathered at mosques, prayers were conducted observing social distancing norms. At Jama Masjid in Delhi, people brought their own mats and avoided hugging.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended warm greetings on the occasion and hoped that the festival inspires the people of the country to create a “just, harmonious and an inclusive” society.
“May the spirit of brotherhood and compassion be furthered,” he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday extended his Eid greetings to people and hoped that the occasion will bring peace and prosperity to the society. Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid in Delhi’s old quarters attracted a number of people for the early morning namaaz.
Shahi Imam Mufti Mukarram of Fatehpuri Masjid said, “People observed social distancing and wore masks in the mosque during namaaz.”
“Eid al-Adha means Eid of sacrifices. We prayed for relief from the virus, peace and growth of the country and thanked the authorities to allow namaaz in mosques with precautions against COVID-19,” he said.
New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia greeted Delhiites on the festival. “Hearty congratulations to you all on Eid al-Adha,” Kejriwal tweeted.
In Kashmir, no Eid prayers were offered in major mosques and shrines as police enforced strict restrictions in most parts of the Valley, including Srinagar city. Police personnel made announcements early in the morning on public address systems, appealing to people not to congregate for Eid prayers as the threat of coronavirus was still prevalent in the Valley.
People preferred to offer Eid prayers at home — either individually or in small groups consisting of family members only, the officials said, adding, however, reports of congregation Eid prayers being offered in the mosques in interior parts of cities and towns have been received.
In Uttar Pradesh, weekend lockdowns imposed to to break the chain of coronavirous transmission, dampened the spirit of the festival.
Imam of Lucknow Eidgah Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali told PTI, “Only five people offered namaaz at Lucknow’s Eidgah. Most people offered namaaz at their homes and also did ‘qurbaani’ in their homes. Ninety per cent of people completed their prayers in the early morning itself. By and large, there was silence in most parts of the city.”
Markets in prominent areas of the state capital such as Hazratganj, Aminabad, Gomtinagar, Indiranagar, Latouche Road, Alambagh, Hewett Road, Aliganj and Gudumba remained shut. There was also less movement of people on the streets.
In Allahabad, people offered namaaz while observing social distancing norms and prayed for the end of the pandemic.
The sight, smell and sounds of Eid were also missing in Kolkata’s Zakaria street, next to Nakhoda Mosque, which dons a festive look every year with numerous food stalls and gift shops dotting the road on the occasion.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also wished people in a Facebook pictorial post. (PTI)

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