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After 2 yrs, scores throng mosques to offer Eid Namaz

New Delhi: Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated across the country on 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.

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.

After a gap of two years, the Namaz of Eid was performed in mosques across Delhi as Covid restrictions remained suspended due to a dip in cases.

On Tuesday morning, several mosques shifted the Namaz timings, keeping in mind the summer heat. Some others held special prayers in two shifts to accommodate scores of devotees.

Tight security arrangements were put in place at major religious places and also in different parts of the city for peaceful progression of the Namaz. The Delhi Police said it has warned of strict legal action against rumour mongers.

Festivities broke out with people greeting and hugging each other after the Namaz and shopping for their favourite delicacies.

"The Namaz of Eid is performed after sunrise and it used to be carried out around 8-9 am earlier. But this time, we preponed it keeping in mind the scorching heat these days," Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari said.

It was performed at 6 am at the Jama Masjid. Many other mosques, including Fatehpuri, Sunehri Masjid, Shahjahano Masjid, Bhoori Bhatiyari and Dhaka Masjid, too, held the Namaz between 6 am and 7 am.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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