Muslims in Kashmir Valley offer Eid prayers while maintaining social distancing

Eid al-Adha celebrations in Kashmir on Saturday were a low-key affair as most of the faithful marked the festival of sacrifice by offering prayers in small groups and observing social distancing in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No Eid prayers were offered in major mosques and shrines of Kashmir as police enforced the strict restrictions in most parts of the valley, including Srinagar city, officials said.

Concertina wires and barricades were placed at many intersections in the city to prevent free movement of people, they said.

People preferred to offer Eid prayers at home — either individually or in small groups consisting of family members only, the officials said.

They said, however, reports of congregation Eid prayers being offered in the mosques located in the interior parts of cities and towns have been received.

Police personnel made announcements early in the morning on public address systems, appealing to people not to congregate for Eid prayers as the threat of coronavirus was still prevalent in the valley.

Thousands of sheep and goats were sacrificed by the Muslims across the valley to mark the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim, the officials said.

They said, however, the number of animals sacrificed this year was much lesser than usual in view of COVID threat.

While Eid al-Fitr prayers could not be offered in May this year due to the coronavirus lockdown, Eid al-Azha prayers could not be offered last year in Kashmir as authorities had imposed restrictions in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 and division of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.