Azamgarh is angry and in mourning. This Eid, black bands have replaced new clothes and grim faces of men, and even children, replaced joyous greetings and hugs.
Women in this Uttar Pradesh town — known for its alleged links to mafia dons and now terrorists — are not pleasantly busy this year, preparing sewaiyan and biryani and kebabs. For, friends won’t come visiting this year.
The townsmen declared earlier that Eid would not be celebrated this year in protest against the killing of two local boys Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid by Delhi Police in Jamia Nagar on September 19 and arrests of several others as suspected activists of the Indian Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the recent serial blasts, including the one in Delhi.
The mood was gloomy particularly in Sanjarpur and Sarai Meer – home to most of the alleged Delhi bombers. people turned up silently for the namaaz at the Eidgah and other mosques, wearing black bands on their arms.
In the post-prayer Khutba (sermon), Maulana Amir Madni said: “This is an hour of crisis for the community, and may peace and tranquility win through.”
People didn’t follow the custom of hugging or greeting each other. “We believe the two boys who were killed were innocent. their families are in mourning. how can we celebrate Eid? They were our own,” said Tariq Shamin from Sanjarpur.
Instead, they visited the families of the boys to express solidarity. Jamal Ahmed, a resident of Seedha Sultanpur, said two lakh people in the villages around Sarai Meer didn’t celebrate Eid.
The scene was similar in Billariagunj, Mubarakpur, Nizamabad and Takia, where people went for prayers with black bands on their arms. In Azamgarh town, the Muslims offered prayers at Jama Masjid amid calls for the community to stand against communal forces.