Eid-al-Adha was celebrated in a subdued manner on Saturday with mosques following social distancing norms and many devotees offering prayers from home, even as India recorded over 57,000 cases within 24 hours.
At Delhi's Fatehpuri Masjid, devotees were seen offering prayers while following all COVID-19 norms. They also did away with the custom to hug each other while exchanging greetings. "We have ensured that we are cautious that we don't hug each other. We would be wishing each other by saying Eid Mubarak," a devotee told ANI.
Temperature screening was being conducted at the Jama Masjid in the National Capital. "We have ensured strong arrangements here. In fact, we have ensured a safe environment in several big and small mosques on this occasion. Namaz will be offered at 6.05 am," said Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), had said.
Devotees at Amritsar's Khairuddin mosque assembled to offers prayers despite light rainfall and strictly followed social distancing norms.
With the imposition of a weekend lockdown in Uttar Pradesh, subdued celebrations were witnessed in the state. In Lucknow, markets remained shut in prominent areas such as Hazratganj, Aminabad, Gomtinagar, Indiranagar, Latouche Road, Alambagh, Hewett Road, Aliganj and Gudumba.
Imam of Lucknow Eidgah Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali told PTI, "Only five people offered namaaz at Lucknow's Eidgah. Most people offered namaaz at their homes, and also did 'qurbaani' in their homes. Ninety percent of the people completed their prayers in the early morning itself. By and large, there was silence in most parts of the city."
People stayed indoors in cities like Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur, Barabanki and Rampur, while worshippers in Allahabad offered the namaz at mosques while observing social distancing.
As the lockdown restrictions have been eased outside containment zones in West Bengal, many devotees were seen offering namaz in mosques, though the usual hustle and bustle was missing from the minority-dominated pockets of the city.
The authorities made elaborate arrangements to sanitise the mosque premises and thermal screening of visitors, even though many chose to offer prayers at home. The Zakaria Street in north Kolkata, otherwise bustling with crowds during the festival, wore a deserted look, PTI reported.
In Tamil Nadu, the state's Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) unit, which has over 800 mosques under its control across the state, appealed to the members of the community to avoid congregation, as advised by the state government and support the administration in the fight against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, lockdown, job loss and decreased income dampened the festival, reducing the ease in procuring goats on a festival on which Muslims symbolically sacrifice a goat or a sheep as an act of sacrifice. "The pricing had been high this time - about Rs 2,000 more than in the previous year, per goat. Even the sale is not so brisk, as it had been in the past, due to the pandemic scare," Nadeem of Al Khair Goat Farm, Kundrathur, said.
Bengaluru's Jamia Islamia placed a sanitiser tunnel at the entrance, Sayyid Imran Imam, Maulvi of the masjid. "The Karnataka Wakf Board released a circular that said that this year, Eid ul-Adha was only to be celebrated in masjids that are not in containment zones, and not in public places like corporations grounds. Those masjids that are in containment zones will not be open. Hand sanitisers have been placed across the premises," Maulvi Imran told ANI.
The mosque that usually sees a crowd of 10,000 people every year will only allow 1,500 to 2,000 people, barring the entry of the elderly, ailing and young children. The maulvi also urged people to do the sacrifice ritual indoors.
Holidays will be observed on 1 and 2 August in Jammu and Kashmir, where people stayed at home to celebrate the festival. Jammu is observing a weekly lockdown on Saturday, however, essential services shops remained open in the city.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan applauded the decisions of some mosque committees to remain closed for devotees on Eid-Al-Adha. "On Eid al-Adha, prayers can be offered in mosques with a limited number of persons. Some mosque committees in Kerala have decided to cancel prayers in view of COVID-19 which is a welcome step. The situation is not suited for large gatherings," he said.
In Rajasthan, Congress MLAs Amin Khan, Amin Kagzi, Hakam Ali, Saleh Mohammed, Wajib and Rafiq offered namaaz from Jaisalmer's Suryagarh Hotel, where lawmakers loyal to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are staying amid a political crisis in the state.
Eid al-Adha or Bakrid, also known as the "sacrifice feat" is marked by sacrificing an animal, usually a sheep or a goat to prove devotion and love for Allah. Post the sacrifice, devotees distribute the offering to family, friends and the poor and the needy.
With inputs from agencies