Eid-ul-Zuha celebrations were a low key affair in the Kashmir Valley on Monday as people observed austerity following last month’s devastating floods that left over 280 dead and property worth over Rs one lakh crore was destroyed.
Although Muslims made a beeline to Eidgahs, mosques and shrines to offer prayers, the usual fervour and zeal associated with the festival was missing.
The largest Eid congregation was held at Hazratbal Shrine where over 35,000 faithful, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, offered prayers, officials said.
The officials said 25,000 people gathered for Eid prayers in a school at Rajouri Kadal in the city. Reports of large congregations were also received from all district headquarters of Kashmir Valley, they said.
The sacrifice of animals such as sheep and goats as part of rituals of Eid-ul-Zuha, also known as Bakri Eid, was made by many devotees but the number of animals slaughtered this year was far less compared to previous years.
“Nearly 50 lakh people were affected by floods. I don’t think many of them would be in a position to offer sacrifice this Eid,” said Abdul Rehman, a flood victim from Jawahar Nagar locality.
With wide parts of Kashmir devastated by the ravaging floods last month, many locals decided to refrain from celebrating the festival this time around. Most locals abstained from purchasing new clothes for the festival, as is the practice on the occasion, and also avoided bursting firecrackers as part of celebrations.
Meanwhile, a minor law and order problem erupted after Eid prayers at Safa Kadal as a mob pelted stones at security personnel.
“The mob was chased away by using batons and normalcy was restored very soon,” a police officer said.
JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who had planned to offer Eid prayers at Lal Chowk along with businessmen and traders of the area, was taken into preventive custody by police ahead of the prayers.
Another separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah was placed under house arrest.
However, chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference — Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — offered Eid prayers at Hyderpora and Eidgah respectively.