Curfew mars Eid-ul-Fitr festivities in Jodhpur, Khargone

New Delhi: Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated across the country Tuesday with people thronging Eidgahs and mosques, and families coming together for feasts after two years when the festivities were eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic.

But, as people elsewhere in the country prepared for the festival, the administration in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur and Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone imposed curfews over communal tension, asking residents to stay home.

In Delhi’s Jahangirpuri that witnessed riots last month, Hindus and Muslims celebrated Eid together at Kushal Chowk by exchanging sweets and hugs, sending a message of peace and love.

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Tight security arrangements were put in place at major religious places in the city. The Namaz of Eid was performed in mosques including at the historic Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid as Covid restrictions remained suspended due to a dip in Covid cases.

In Jammu and Kashmir, rain failed to dampen the spirit of the faithful who celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with traditional fervour.

Officials said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the Valley.

The biggest gathering in Kashmir was witnessed at the Hazratbal shrine, where an estimated 80,000 people braved the rain to offer prayers.

Authorities did not allow Eid prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar as the management committee refused to accept their conditions.

Eid celebrations this year also come in the backdrop of the controversy around the use of hijab in colleges and announcing of Azaan on loudspeakers at mosques.

In Maharashtra, Director General of Police Rajnish Seth said the Aurangabad police will take appropriate legal action against MNS leader Raj Thackeray who had called for silencing loudspeakers at mosques from May 4.

Celebrations on Eid-ul-Fitr during the last two years were subdued with no major congregational prayers and community feasts due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

However, with the spread of the virus fairly under control and restrictions relaxed, people gathered at mosques across the vast expanse of the country for prayers.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, over five lakh people led by Imam Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali offered namaz at the Eidgah maidan.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar later thanked the state’s religious leaders saying that Eid was peacefully celebrated in the state amid its “traditional Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb” (a syncretic fusion of Hindu and Muslim cultural and religious elements).

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a tweet in Hindi said, “Today, a number of religious events were successfully held in Uttar Pradesh. The people of the state have taken a good initiative by not organising them on roads.”

“For a healthy and harmonious society, it is necessary that along with respect for the faith, there should also be rule of law,” he said.

Participating in Eid-ul-Fitr prayers held on a rain-drenched Red Road in Kolkata, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed to people to fight against the power which is trying to divide the country.”

“The policy of divide and rule and politics of isolation going on in the country are not correct. Do not be scared and keep on fighting.”

“I am happy that after a gap of two years, you have assembled for this historic Eid prayer at the Red Road. This does not happen anywhere. The situation in the country is not fine. The policy of divide and rule and politics of isolation going on in the country are not correct, Banerjee said.

In Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, Muslims offered special prayers at 51 mosques and Eidgahs.

Celebratory gatherings could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but this time festivities are on with full fervour,” Raipur’s Qazi-e-Shahar Maulana Mohammad Ali Farooqui told PTI.

Down south in Kerala, people celebrated Eid with full fervour offering special prayers and namaz at mosques.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wished the people on the occasion.

Vijayan tweeted, “At a time when we are moving forward from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s imbibe the values of this festival and work toward the common good with vigour and unity.”

Sweets were exchanged between the Pakistani Rangers and the BSF on the occasion at the Attari-Wagah joint check post along the International Border in Punjab.

A similar exchange of sweets was done between the BSF and its eastern counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at several points across the front.

However, the celebrations were marred in some parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The historic city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan witnessed stone-pelting and clashes, which left five police personnel injured, over putting up of Islamic flags on the Jalori gate circle. Police had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

People in some parts of the city spent the day inside their homes, and without mobile internet as authorities imposed a curfew in 10 police stations areas and suspended mobile internet services.

The administration in Madhya Pradesh’s violence-hit Khargone decided not to relax the curfew and asked people to celebrate Eid as also the Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya at home.

Security has been tightened in Khargone, where violence took place during a Ram Navami procession on April 10.

All religious places in the city will remain shut on Tuesday.

In Punjab, where communal violence was witnessed in Patiala last week, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on the occasion of Eid said that anything can be planted in the fertile land of the state but not the seeds of hatred.

Eid symbolises universal brotherhood, peace and amity, he said.

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