Millions offer prayers as India celebrates Eid after holy month of Ramzan

EidLarge congregations of Eid prayers were held at the Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin Dargah at the culmination of the fasting month of Ramadan. (IE Photo: Amit Mehra)

A festive spirit gripped India on Eid today with millions of Muslims offering special prayers atmosques and idgahs, exchanging greetings and gifts along with warm embraces and taking part in feasts with friends and family. In the capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur drove to the residence of Vice President Hamid Ansari to greet him on the festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramzan.

Despite overcast conditions and scattered rains in some areas, hundreds of faithful dressed in their festive best turned up at historic Jama Masjid, Fathepuri Masjid, Hazrat Nizamuddin and other mosques in the city to offer prayers. People hugged each other and wished "Eid Mubarak", exchanged gifts and enjoyed special dishes, particularly 'sewayian' made of vermicelli, 'phirni' and different varieties of biryani and kebabs. Elders gave 'eidee' (token money) to children. People visited relatives and markets decked up for the festival and gave out alms to the needy. Across the country, the mosques and idgahs were overflowing with the devout with leaders too joining the celebrations.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his father Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah offered prayers at the Hazratbal shrine, which saw the biggest gathering of 60,000 people. Barring protests at some places, Eid-ul Fitr was celebrated across Kashmir with traditional fervour. Eidgah ground saw an attendance of 35,000 persons while the Tourist Reception Centre ground near Lal Chowk also witnessed a large gathering of around 25,000 people.

Over 10,000 Muslims offered prayers at Syed Yaqoob Shah Shrine at Sonawar. Reports of Eid celebration and congregational prayers were also received from all major towns and district headquarters of the Valley. While Eid prayers passed off peacefully in most parts of the Valley, violent protests erupted soon after the prayers at Eidgah in Old City and Hyderpora in Civil Lines area. Reports of protests were also received from Sopore town in Baramulla district and Anantnag town in south Kashmir.

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