Eid al-Adha celebrated in Bengal amid COVID-19 pandemic

Kolkata: Eid al-Adha was celebrated in West Bengal in a low-key manner this year as Muslim devotees on Saturday offered prayers at mosques and homes while maintaining social distancing norms amid surging coronavirus cases in the state.

As the lockdown restrictions have been eased outside containment zones, many devotees were seen offering namaz in mosques, though the usual hustle and bustle associated with the festival was missing from the minority-dominated pockets of the city.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar extended his Eid greetings to people.

“The festival inspires us to inculcate empathy, peace and universal brotherhood. Given Covid Challenge-Need to follow safety protocols-wearing masks, practising physical distancing in celebration,” the governor said in a tweet.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also wished people on the occasion in a Facebook pictorial post.

Attired in traditional clothes, the young and elderly gathered in small numbers at mosques to offer morning prayers.

They avoided the usual hugging and shaking hands with each other after the prayers to prevent the spread of the infection.

The authorities made elaborate arrangements to sanitise the mosque premises and thermal screening of the faithful.

The sight, smell and sounds of Eid were 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.

Many devotees also offered prayers with their families at home.

Bengal Imams Association president Mohammed Yahia said all 26,000 mosque committees in the state have been asked to allow 25 faithful to enter their premises during morning prayers, barring a few located in containment zones.

On the occasion of Bakr Eid, devotees performed the ritual of animal sacrifice with strict adherence to precautionary norms amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have asked everyone from the community to distribute meat among the family members and close friends, and not to anyone else keeping in mind the present situation,” Yahia said.