Kozhikode (Ker) July 20 (PTI): The fear of resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic after a drop in cases this month has forced the government to take stringent measures, casting a shadow over Bakrid celebrations in Kerala on Wednesday.
'Sharing and giving are the spirit of this festival...It is a festival of friendship.
A feeling of emptiness is in the minds of the people due to the COVID-19 pandemic,' Panakkad Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal, a spiritual leader of a significant section of Muslims in Kerala, told PTI.
He said though the festivities will be confined to the homes of the faithful due to fear of spread of coronavirus, they would use the digital platforms effectively to virtually celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones.
Thangal opined that one should take such an experience with a positive mindset as it gives them an opportunity to think about the difficulties being faced by people.
Eid al-Adha or the 'Feast of Sacrifice,' falls after two months and ten days of the observance of the Ramadan (Eid Ul- Fitr) which was celebrated on May 13.
Ramadan is celebrated after a month-long dawn-to-dusk fasting by devotees.
'For Eid al-Adha also the devotees observe one day fasting on the previous day (today) as part of the observance of Eid festival', Rafeeq Rahmani, Qatheeb of the Sunni mosque in nearby Puthiyangadi-Chalil told PTI.
The Eid al-Adha also marks the Haj pilgrimage, he added.
There are many restrictions for the celebrations due to the prevailing situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only 40 devotees are permitted in mosques for prayers and with COVID-19 protocols.
'There will not be any Eid Gah (mass prayer on the beach, etc) and similar social gatherings this time also.
Devotees have been asked to come for the Eid prayer in the morning after performing 'Vulu' (cleaning) and to carry 'Musalla' (sheet for niskaram)', said Naduvilakam Basheer, a former bureaucrat and a devotee in nearby Karaparamba.
Thanks to the relaxations by the state government for three days from Sunday, devotees were on a festival-special shopping spree, with hundreds thronging textile and footwear shops and malls since then.
However,the Supreme Court's criticism of the governments relaxations for Bakrid in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rate has further sullied the spirit of some ahead of the festival.
During the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet in Thiruvananthapuram today, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the three-day easing of COVID restrictions in view of Bakrid being celebrated on July 21 will end today.
'There will be no relaxation in the curbs as of now. The current restrictions will continue for next one more week.
The average Test Positivity Rate of the last three days has increased to 10.8 per cent', he said.
The TPR is high in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts.
The Chief Minister's statement came hours after the Supreme Court termed as 'wholly uncalled for', the Left government's relaxation of lockdown restrictions in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rate, ahead of Bakrid festival.
The apex Court directed the state government to 'heed the Right to Life' and warned Kerala of action if the easing of curbs leads to further spread of the virus and this is brought before it by any person.
Criticising the government, BJP state president K Surendran said that the Supreme Court verdict was a setback for the state government's 'unscientific COVID defence.' 'This is a slap in the face of the Pinarayi Vijayan government,' he told reporters. PTI COR TGB APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR