Communication lines, including phones and Internet, have been suspended for the last eight days — the lines were downed ahead of the government’s announcement revoking the special status of J&K and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
Eid al-Adha in the Valley was minus the festive cheer and prayers were offered in locality mosques as security personnel monitored crowd movements and prevented people from gathering in large grounds after prohibitory orders were relaxed for Eid prayers. Officials said the day passed off peacefully barring a few incidents they dismissed as minor.
Kashmir range IGP S P Pani told a press conference: “The Eid namaz was offered in different mosques and after the prayers, the congregations dispersed peacefully. There were a couple of minor localised incidents of law and order which have been handled very professionally. In these incidents, there have been a couple of injuries which have been reported.”
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Rohit Kansal, principal secretary and the official spokesperson of the J&K administration, said Eid was celebrated in 90 per cent of the places in the Valley. Communication lines, including phones and Internet, have been suspended for the last eight days — the lines were downed ahead of the government’s announcement revoking the special status of J&K and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
Meanwhile, no exchange of sweets took place at Wagah border on Eid between Pakistan Rangers and the BSF. Sources said despite an invitation, the Pakistan Rangers did not turn up for the customary exchange.
(PTI adds: While National Conference president Farooq Abdullah is under house arrest at his residence, his son and party vice-president Omar Abdullah is at the Hari Nivas Palace. Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti is at the Chashm-e-Shahi Hut here, officials said. Several political leaders, who were picked up on August 5, offered prayers at the Centaur hotel on the banks of the Dal lake, officials said. The government provided them with a ‘maulvi’ at the hotel where they have been kept since their detention, they added.)
In New Delhi, the ministry of home affairs said prayers began at 7 am at most mosques and continued till noon in some places, but no major incident was reported from anywhere. “Eid prayers were offered peacefully in all local mosques of Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, without any untoward incident. Jamia Masjid old town Baramulla witnessed approx 10,000 people offering prayers,” it said.
The government denied incidents of firing during public protests, saying not a single bullet had been fired since the lockdown. “There are some reports in media about firing by security forces and deaths/ injuries. It is categorically denied that any firing incident has happened in the state. Not a single bullet has been fired by security forces nor has there been any casualty,” a statement by the J&K administration said.
The government, however, said there were some protests in the Valley but dismissed them as routine. “There have been some minor localised protests of a routine nature in a few places. This is not unknown in Jammu and Kashmir in the past. There have been some isolated incidents of stone pelting, again at an insignificant level. Police handled these locally and dispersed the protesters. There are no major injuries barring one or two individuals,” the statement said.
The government gave out figures for mosque attendance at various places in Kashmir. “There were large prayer congregations at many places including Bandipora (Dar ul Uloom Rahimiya 5000, Jamia Masjid 2000), Baramulla (10,000), Kupwara (Eidgah 3500), Trehgam (3000), Sopore (1500), Kulgam (Qazigund 5500, Qaimoh 6000), Shopian (3000), Pulwama (1800), Awantipora (2500), Anantnag (Achabal 3000), Ganderbal (over 7000), Budgam (Chararesharif 5000, Magam 8000), Srinagar (hundreds of local mosques). In Jammu, over 5000 prayed at Eidgah. Similar large gatherings were there in Jammu province,” it said.
In Jammu, Eid celebrations remained a low key affair. Except for Kishtwar where some people raised slogans inside Jamia Masjid after Eid prayers, the day passed off peacefully. Congress leader and former minister G M Saroori was not allowed to move out of his house to offer prayers.
In Doda, people offered prayers at local mosques because the administration did not allow them to gather at Eidgah. The situation was no different in Rajouri and Poonch districts as well where people visited mosques but the numbers this time were fewer.
There was not much traffic on the roads and not many turned up to buy animals brought by traders. “There has been no buyer for the sheep since morning,’’ said a trader in Bhatindi.