Eid-al-Adha observed in India sans fanfare amid pandemic
A Muslim man helps a child to offer Eid al-Adha prayers in Hyderabad, India. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA on Wednesday (21) observed a subdued Eid-al-Adha amid the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and the leaders greeted their countrymen on the occasion.
Across the nation, people mostly stayed indoors to offer namaz to observe the occasion since religious and festive gatherings on the streets remained prohibited in view of the pandemic. Major mosques in the national capital like Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid remained shut for visitors. Police personnel were also deployed outside them to prevent people from crowding.
“As congregational prayers are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, just a few staffers and their family members offered namaz (prayer) on Eid-ul-Adha today. People themselves are careful and not thronging the mosques to keep safe from the virus,” Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, was quoted as saying by PTI.
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Sources in the police said meetings were held with Imams earlier in which they were requested to encourage people to celebrate Eid at their homes for everyone’s safety in the times of the pandemic. A senior police officer told PTI that patrolling was intensified to prevent overcrowding amid festivities.
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“Posters were also pasted by the police wishing everyone Eid Mubarak and at the same time urging them to celebrate the festival at home with their families and stay safe,” he said.
New Delhi deputy commissioner of police Deepak Yadav said the Imams and other members of mosques were briefed about the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) guidelines about Covid and their cooperation was sought.
Kerala observes festival cuatiously
In the southern state of Kerala, the Muslim community celebrated the day in a subdued manner since the state continues to reel under the severe second wave. Only 40 people were allowed for prayers adhering to strict pandemic protocol and the usual festive mood was not seen across mosques in the state. Devotees were seen following social-distancing norms and avoided the usual exchange of pleasantries and embraces after the prayers that usually take place.
“It is a great relief that at least a few people were allowed inside the mosques for prayers during the occasion,” Shan, a Muslim youth hailing from the capital city, said. However, there was no change in the age-old custom of preparing traditional delicacies at homes during the occasion.
The government of Kerala came under criticism from the Supreme Court of India over its decision to relax Covid restrictions ahead of the festival. On Tuesday (20), state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at the daily Covid evaluation meet in Thiruvananthapuram that there would be no relaxation in the curbs.
President Kovid, prime minister Modi greet nation
“Eid Mubarak to all fellow citizens. Eid-uz-Zuha is a festival to express regard for the spirit of love and sacrifice, and to work together for unity and fraternity in an inclusive society. Let us resolve to follow COVID-19 guidelines and work for happiness of all,” Indian president Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet.
“Eid Mubarak! Best wishes on Eid-ul-Adha. May this day further the spirit of collective empathy, harmony and inclusivity in the service of greater good,” tweeted prime minister Narendra Modi.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter, “Hearty wishes to all the countrymen on Eid-ul-Adha. May this festival bring happiness and prosperity in your lives.”