Covid-19 dampens Eid celebrations across India

Prayer gatherings, outdoor celebrations and other public events were curtailed or cancelled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
People offer namaz to celebrate Eid in the garden near Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday.(Waseem Andrabi/ht photo)
People offer namaz to celebrate Eid in the garden near Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday.(Waseem Andrabi/ht photo)
Updated on May 25, 2020 05:07 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Under the shadow of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Sunday marked Eid al-Fitr, but the usual fervour and celebrations were missing. Although the lockdown was partially eased to allow shopping and short travel, people remained indoors and avoided customary meetings with family, friends and relatives to maintain physical distancing and check crowding at public places The rest of the country will celebrate Eid on Monday.

Prayer gatherings, outdoor celebrations and other public events were curtailed or cancelled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

No Eid prayers were offered for the second consecutive time in major mosques of Kashmir. All the shrines put up banners saying no congregational prayers were being organised.Last year, Eid-ul-Azha prayers could not be offered in Kashmir because the authorities imposed a strict curfew in the wake of the effective revocation of Article 370 that divested the state of its special status and divided Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories -- J&K and Ladakh.

In Kerala too, the usual fervour associated with Eid was missing. Many shopkeepers in Kozhikkode’s Sweetmeat Street, famous for its shopping, said their business had been one-tenth the usual level in the last two days. Besides the lockdown norms, lack of money also forced many people to remain indoors, they said. Many religious leaders had asked believers to stay at home.

With other states celebrating the festival on Monday, guidelines were being put in place by governments and the religious heads.

There will be no relaxations for Eid prayers in Uttarakhand. Ashok Kumar, director general (law & order) Uttarakhand police said. “The restrictions will be in place as they are at present.”

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee appealed to the Muslim community in Bengal to celebrate Eid and offer prayers indoors so that social distancing norms enforced to counter the Covid-9 pandemic are not violated. The Bengal Imams Association made the same appeal.

“For a month you observed Ramzan indoors. I appeal to you to celebrate Eid the same way. Please have faith in me. Mankind will be grateful to you,” said Banerjee.

In Madhya Pradesh, Masajid committee (Bhopal) superintendent Yasar Aarafat said, “Only five selected persons will offer the prayer on the occasion at the mosque at Eidgaah. People will offer prayers at home. There will be no hugging also on the occasion.”

In Goa too, there will be no community celebrations this year, with the president of the Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats, Sheikh Basheer Ahmed, saying: “This year we will celebrate Eid differently. It won’t be like every year because this year we will celebrate it individually each in our own homes with our children, parents and family. We should not congregate for the namaz at the masjid, idgah or any other similar place. We cannot congregate and have to maintain social distancing,” Ahmed said.

In Chhattisgarh, prayers will be offered in the mosques, but no more than five people will be allowed.

“No congregation is allowed during Eid and we have appealed that celebrations should be done inside the house. We have also appealed not to spend money on shopping and purchasing. Instead, the money should be distributed among the poor and sufferers in this crisis,” said Shehar Qazi of Raipur, Mohammad Ali Farooqi

The historic Gandhi Maidan in Bihar, after more than 90 years, will not host any Eid prayers in view of the pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing.

On a call by Ulemas and Muftis from all schools of Islamic thought, Muslims in Hyderabad have been offering Taraweeh prayers at their homes during Ramzan month. In Uttar Pradesh too, both Shia and Sunni clerics asked the faithful to keep Eid a low-key affair and offer prayers indoors.

Nawab Malik, Maharashtra minority affairs minister, on Saturday urged people not to gather in basements, parking areas, or any other place to offer prayers.

“Our religious leaders have already urged people not to violate lockdown rules and to contribute in the best possible way to fight this challenge. The Muslim community will not be demanding any exemption and ready to celebrate Eid without any gatherings,” said Malik.

(With inputs from state bureaus)

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Friday, December 03, 2021