COVID-19 lockdown stifles Eid celebrations in West Bengal

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Updated: May 25, 2020 6:08 PM

Eid-ul-fitr celebrations in the city and its neighbourhood turned out to be a low-key affair this year, as people marked the culmination of the fasting month of Ramzan by offering prayers from the confines of their homes, amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

Chairman of Bengal Imams Association Mohammed Yahia said all 26,000 mosque committees in the state have asked the faithfuls to offer Eid namaz with their families. (Credit:PTI)

Eid-ul-fitr celebrations in the city and its neighbourhood turned out to be a low-key affair this year, as people marked the culmination of the fasting month of Ramzan by offering prayers from the confines of their homes, amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

The usual hustle and bustle associated with the festival was missing from the minority-dominated pockets of the city, which wore a forlorn look on Monday. Government officials were seen busy removing felled trees and mangled poles from the city streets, days after Cyclone ‘Amphan’ battered the metropolis and left behind a trail of destruction.
Savoury shops at Park Circus and Kidderpore, a major draw during the festival, were largely shut, and the streets mostly empty, with just a handful of people buying groceries.

The sight, smell and sounds of Eid was also missing from Zakaria street, next to Nakhoda Mosque in north Kolkata, which dons a festive look every year with numerous food stalls and gift shops dotting the road on the occasion.
State minister and Kolkata Municipal Corporation administrator Firhad Hakim offered namaz at his Chetla residence in south Kolkata along with wife and daughters.

“Our combined prayers to the Almighty to defeat coronavirus and end misery of people struck by cyclone Amphan,” Hakim told reporters. Majid Ali, a 25-year old IT professional, rued the fact that he could not attend the Red Road namaz on Eid, a ritual he had strictly adhered to since he was five years old.

“We offered namaz at home today. I missed the revelry that is synonymous with the occasion. This year, I offered namaz at home with my mother and sister,” Ali said. Irfan, a rickshaw-puller in Phoolbagan area of Kamarhati, on the northern fringes of the city, said he and his family visited a neighbour and offered thanksgiving prayers together.
“This year, we could not visit Kamarhati Badi Masjid compound, as the imam had asked us to stay at home. My wife has prepared sevai for us on the occasion, and I can’t wait to taste it,” he said.

Chairman of Bengal Imams Association Mohammed Yahia said all 26,000 mosque committees in the state have asked the faithfuls to offer Eid namaz with their families at home.

“To my knowledge, Eid-ul-fitr is being celebrated across city and elsewhere in state without any public gathering this year,” he said.

Echoing his views, the imam of Nakhoda Masjid here, Shafique Qasmi, said, “There was no gathering anywhere near the mosque this morning. Just a few people were allowed inside the shrine. We should pray to Allah to give us the strength to defeat this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended her greetings to people on the occasion.
“Heartiest wishes to all on the occasion of #EidUlFitr. Let us celebrate this great festival at home. These are difficult times, but I am confident, we will overcome this challenge. My greetings to each one of you,” she tweeted.

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