India celebrates Eid with prayers

New Delhi: India celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Saturday with people, dressed in traditional finery, offering prayers at mosques and Eidgahs, and families coming together for feasts.

Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan.

In Delhi, a large number of people congregated at the historical Jama Masjid around 6:30 am to offer namaz. The special Eid prayers at Fatehpuri Masjid, Eidgah and Sunehri Masjid also drew large crowds.

People greeted each other after the prayers and took part in the festivities. Shops in the city’s main markets, especially those around Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, did brisk business as people shopped for the festival.

While the festive spirit was palpable elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir, residents of Sangiote village skipped the pomp and show as they grieved the death of five Army soldiers in a terrorist attack in Poonch.

The soldiers were killed on Thursday after unidentified terrorists attacked their truck and it caught fire. The truck was carrying vegetables, fruits and other items for an iftar gathering scheduled to be held in Sangiote on Thursday evening.

Sangiote has a population of more than 3,500 and over 60 per cent of the men are ex-servicemen.

“We just offered prayers. People are saddened by the death of jawans who were bringing material for our iftar on Thursday evening,” Sangiote village head Mukhtiar Khan told PTI over phone from his home.

In Kashmir, the largest congregation of devotees was witnessed at the Hazratbal shrine on the banks of the Dal lake where former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was among the notable persons to offer prayers.

However, authorities did not allow Eid prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in the old city, a day after allowing Friday congregational prayers.

The biggest congregation in Jammu took place at Eidgah and Macca Masjid where hundreds of devotees performed Namaz-e-Eid and prayed for peace, development and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the country.

Eid Namaz was also offered at other mosques in Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, and Kathua districts.

The district administrations had made elaborate security and other necessary arrangements for the festival.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, a special ‘namaz’ marking the festival was held at the Aishbagh Eidgah where the old and young were seen embracing each other and exchanging greetings.

Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav were among the prominent faces who visited the Eidgah.

On the occasion of Eid, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged people to celebrate the festival while taking all precautions against COVID-19.

“The CM has extended hearty greetings and best wishes to the people of the state on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr…

“On the occasion of Eid, everyone should take a pledge to further strengthen harmony. The chief minister has appealed to the people to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by taking all precautions in view of the corona infection,” the Chief Minister’s Office said in a tweet.

A senior police official said Eid prayers in the state passed off peacefully at all the 31,838 places. “Due to everyone’s efforts and efficient management, no untoward incident has been reported anywhere,” he said.

Security was tightened across Uttar Pradesh and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were imposed across districts after gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf were shot dead in Prayagraj on April 15 by three men posing as journalists.

In Mumbai, thousands offered prayers at mosques at places like Mohammad Ali Road, Bandra, Govandi and Kurla which have a sizeable population of Muslims.

After offering namaz, people visited burial grounds to offer prayers.

Like every year, Mumbai police deployed extra personnel near mosques and on the streets to ensure a smooth celebration of the festival, an official said.

Several traffic policemen are also on the city roads to streamline vehicular movement for the benefit of those celebrating the festival, he said.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Jharkhand’s Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

Large gatherings were seen at Harmu Idgah, Upper Bazar Jama Masjid, Doranda Idgah, Kadru Idgah and Iqra Masjid in the state capital.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren extended his wishes on the occasion.

“This is a festival of peace, unity, joy, gaiety and enthusiasm. I pray that this festival may bring happiness and prosperity in everyone’s life,” he said.

Governor CP Radhakrishnan tweeted, “My heartiest greetings to everyone on Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid Mubarak!”

Inspector-General of Police (Operations) Amol V Homkar said adequate security arrangements have been made across all 24 districts of Jharkhand for the festival.

Deployments have been made based on intelligence inputs and some previous incidents, he said.

In Kerala, devotees thronged mosques and Eidgahs to offer prayers.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan joined several devotees who had gathered at the Eidgah in Kollam district to offer prayers, the Kerala Raj Bhavan said in an official release.

During the sermons at the mosques in the state, religious leaders urged devotees to uphold the values of compassion, fraternity and social harmony and live a life adhering to the values of Islam.