Low key Eid celebrations in Kashmir amid COVID-19

People offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayer as they maintain social distancing in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
People offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayer as they maintain social distancing in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 13: Amid spike in COVID-19 cases in Kashmir, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated here without any fanfare with people mostly staying indoors as major Mosques and Eidgahs were closed for prayers.
However, in certain mosques and Eidgahs, the Eid prayers were held with people observing social distancing and wearing masks. In majority of the places, the prayers were held soon after morning prayers to avoid larger gatherings.
After the prayers people shied from exchanging hugs and handshakes and instead preferred maintaining distance as part of COVID protocol. Normally people used to greet each other on the occasion with hugs and handshakes.
The people who attended the prayers in the local Masjids and Eidgahs on the occasion were seen seeking forgiveness for their sins amid scourge of COVID-19 pandemic. Special prayers were in the meantime held at various places for the security and safety of Al-Aqsa – ‘Qibla Awal’ – and the people of Palestine.
Government and Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema Jammu and Kashmir, the amalgam of various religious organizations in Kashmir, headed by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq had asked people to stay away from religious gatherings on the auspicious occasions of and Eid-ul-Fitr, due to COVID-19.
The major Eid congregations are normally held at Eidgah in Srinagar, Hazratbal and other major Masjids across Kashmir valley. Both these places were closed for prayers today.
And there was strict curfew across Kashmir to prevent movement and gathering of people on the occasion of Eid.
Police and para-military forces were heavily deployed across Srinagar and other places. They had erected barricades on the road and sealed the localities with concertina wires to prevent movement of the people. People mostly stayed indoors as part of COVID-19 protocol.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammed Aijaz Asad said that district administration is working on war footing basis to break the chain of transmission of Coronavirus infection in Srinagar.
He said administration is making all out efforts to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 SOPs like wearing of masks, hand hygiene and maintenance of social distancing.
The Deputy Commissioner said vaccination drive has also been launched across the district to cover more and more people.
He said that on the directions of Lieutenant Governor, various measures have been taken for strengthening the system to fight the war against COVID-19 and in this regard bed capacity is being augmented at various health facilities and COVID care centers in the city.
In this regard, he said that a 500 bedded hospital is being constructed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and would be commissioned shortly.
Besides, sufficient quantity of oxygen supply has been made available by commissioning various medical oxygen plants at SMHS, Kashmir Nursing Home, JLNM hospital and PHC Chanpora while more oxygen plants would be added soon to further strengthen the oxygen support system.
He also informed that district administration Srinagar is going to start Community Triaging for effective COVID-19 management and in this regard Community Triaging teams are being formed which will help in decentralisation and providing better supervision of COVID-19 management at zone-level.
In addition, the DDMA has set up 24/7 dedicated Helpline COVID-19 War Control Room in order to facilitate the general public regarding COVID-19 related queries and to ensure systematic redressal of such issues.