Eid celebrated with feasts, prayers in Kashmir, Kerala (Roundup)

October 1st, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu/Kozhikode, Oct 1 (IANS) Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr Wednesday amid festivity and prayers for peace in the backdrop of recent communal tension in the state. Muslims in Kerala, too, came out in large numbers to celebrate Eid. The festival, marking the end of Ramadan - the month of fasting, will be observed Thursday in the rest of India.

In Jammu and Kashmir, where religious tensions were high due the bitter Amarnath land row till a month back, thousands of Muslims offered prayers, wishing for peace as both the regions of the state were immersed in joyous celebrations.

Srinagar was witness to loud explosions - this time of a peaceful kind - as children burst firecrackers. Paramilitary troopers were seen smiling at them and even occasionally helping them to light the crackers.

Children wearing new clothes and showing off Eidi (money elders give to the young as a token of love on Eid) flooded the Srinagar streets, adding colour and fervour to the solemnity of the occasion.

The largest prayer congregation was held in Eidgah, Srinagar where over 100,000 devotees had assembled to offer Namaz-e-Eid.

Police and civil administration had made special security arrangements at various places.

“Eid prayers passed off peacefully throughout the valley and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere,” said a police officer.

Muslims cooked special food to celebrate the festival, which marks the end of month long fasting during which Muslims refrain from dawn to dusk eating or drinking.

“I bought a fat goose and some mutton for the family. I joined my parents for lunch after a month’s break,” said Aijaz Hussain, a journalist in Srinagar.

In Jammu, Eid was celebrated with religious fervour and prayers for “peace and communal brotherhood”, in the backdrop of the land row that threatened to polarise Hindus and Muslims in the state.

A large gathering, led by Mufti Sadal Hassan Kazmi, offered prayers at the Jammu Eidgah.

After the prayers, the Mufti said: “The region has undergone a lot of communal, regional and social turmoil during recent protests and counter protests in the state. We must all get together and work to undo the effects of that and pray for peace and amity.”

Many Hindus waited outside the Eidgah to greet their Muslim friends after the prayers.

Devinder Singh Rana, a businessman, said: “We joined our brothers in prayers for peace and tranquillity.”

The day also witnessed a token of amity between India Pakistan troopers on the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border, where guns were roaring recently.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged sweets and greetings at the LoC in the Poonch district.

“Lt. Assad from Pakistan and Lt. Manish Yadav from India shook hands and exchanged sweets and greetings at 10.30 a.m. today (Wednesday) morning,” an official said.

Assad extended “Eid greetings to all the Muslims of Kashmir” and said: “We all hope and pray for peace and prosperity in the region.”

The festival was also celebrated with enthusiasm and gusto in Kerala.

In Kozhikode and Kochi, Eidgahs were set up on beaches apart from other locations. People were even seen offering prayers on the roadside in Kozhikode as everyone could not be accommodated in the venue.

“I think this year more people turned out for prayers at the (Kozhikode) beach compared to last year,” said Mohammed Sadique, who attended prayers at the venue.

In the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Eidgahs were set up at Chandrasekharan Nair stadium and Putharikkandam ground.

Muslim families were also busy preparing elaborate meals to celebrate the festival.

In the Muslim dominated north Kerala region, the preparations for Eid had continued till early Wednesday.

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