SRINAGAR, Aug 22: Eid-ul-Azha was today celebrated in Kashmir with religious fervor and gaiety with people dressed up for the festival since early morning and offered congregational prayers at Eidgahs and Masjids in large numbers.
The largest Eid-ul-Azha congregational prayers were held at Eidgah Srinagar, Dargah Hazratbal shrine and Khadi Mill Alochi Bagh besides at district headquarters of Baramulla, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Budgam, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian.
Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti offered Eid prayers at Syed Sahib Sonwar while former Chief Minister and NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah offered prayers at Hazratbal.
Eid prayers were held peacefully as people exchanged warm greetings with each other, barring some incidents of sporadic clashes at few places in the Valley.
Dressed in their finery to offer the Eid congregational prayers at mosques and Eidgahs, people later hugged and greeted each other with ‘Eid Mubarak’ before setting off for the ceremonial sacrifice of cattle.
The people were seen distributing meat of the sacrificed animals among neighbours and relatives throughout the day. The children were seen dressed in colourful clothes and were bursting crackers.
Clashes erupted at Eidgah following the congregational prayers led by Hurriyat Conference (M), chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The religious scholars who led the congregational prayers at separate Eidgahs and grounds threw light on this sacred festival.
Eid-ul-Azha is the second most significant festival celebrated by the Muslims across the world. The festival commemorates the event when Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) faith was tested by God, and a goat was sacrificed in place of his own son. For this reason, sacrifice of animals is done in the memory of sacrifice given by the Prophet.
People in Kashmir usually observe Eid-ul-Azha for three days and the festival begins with congregational prayers in the morning. However, holidays are officially observed for the first two days of the festival.
The Sopore area of North Kashmir witnessed clashes and protests after the culmination of congregational Eid prayers.
A group of youth soon after the prayers started pelting stones at security forces who were deployed at Main Chowk Sopore to maintain law and order. The security forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors. Clashes were also reported from Anantnag soon after the prayers.
A Police spokesman said that Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated across Valley with fervour. “Eid prayers concluded peacefully across Kashmir valley in which thousands of devotees attended the prayers in different parts of Valley”, the spokesman said.
“Isolated incidents of stone pelting by miscreants were reported from Eidgah Srinagar, Janglat Mandi Anantnag and Sopore after the conclusion of Eid prayers. However, police exhibited utmost restraint in containing stone pelting mob”, the spokesman added.