India celebrates Eid with fervour, prayers

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EIDNew Delhi August 9;A festive spirit gripped India on Eid on Friday with millions of Muslims offering special prayers at mosques and idgahs, exchanging greetings and gifts along with warm embraces and taking part in feasts with friends and family.

In New Delhi, 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.

On the frontiers, the killing of five Indian soldiers along Line of Control cast a shadow as Indian and Pakistani forces skipped the tradition of exchanging greetings and sweets at Poonch.

However, the BSF and Pakistan Rangers did exchange sweets at Octroi post in R S Pura of Jammu and at the Attari/Wagah Joint Check Post in Punjab.

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