Subdued Eid in Hailakandi amid coronavirus lockdown

Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in South Assam’s Hailakandi district turned out to be a low-key affair on Monday as most of the faithful marked the culmination of the fasting month of Ramzan by offering prayers at home in view of lockdown 4.0.

No Eid prayers were offered in major mosques and iddgahs across the district. Some of the major mosques and shrines have put banners saying that no congregational prayers outside their premises.

People preferred to offer Eid prayers at home or in their compound either individually or in small groups comprising family members, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. “We should comply with the lockdown guidelines for our own good. It is always better to be cautious regarding such highly infectious diseases. Everyone should religiously follow the rules and guidelines established by the government,” said Enamul Barbhuiyan, a petty trader. 

The district administration held a meeting with the religious leaders on Saturday with Deputy Commissioner MN Dahal and Superintendent of Police Pabindra Kumar Nath urging the members of the Muslim community to refrain from assembling at mosques and iddgahs to keep the novel coronavirus at bay. People were advised to stay and celebrate at their homes maintaining social distancing. 

“For the first time, we offered prayer and celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr at home due to COVID-19 pandemic but that did not mar the festive spirit. We will continue to pray so that the country is able to get rid of COVID-19 at the earliest,” said Nazmul Islam Tapaddar, a government employee of Katlicherra Revenue Circle. 

“Every year, we used to gather at mosques on the festival day. This year, we prayed together with our family members, and it was a rare opportunity,” said Sariful Laskar, a businessman. 

Laskar said he did not even visit his relatives, friends and acquaintance to avoid gathering and instead conveyed his greetings by calling them. 

“Following the government rules, we have informed people to conduct prayers at their houses and not to gather at mosques and iddgahs,” said Haji Abul Hussain Mazarbhuiyan, joint secretary of District Haj Committee.

Mazarbhuiyan said the focus is on helping the poor, and also persons who have been rendered jobless due to corona economic crisis. “Muslims donate about 2.5% of their income to the needy people during Ramzan. Even grocery kits are being distributed to several needy people. Depending on their financial status, almost all members are reaching out to the needy.”

The Monday’s event turned to be a completely different one from the previous years in all aspects, except in terms of charity, said Mazarbhuiyan.

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