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Low-key Eid celebrations in Delhi amid COVID-19 restrictions

·3-min read

New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) The vast expanse of Jama Masjid's courtyard wore a deserted look and families stayed home on Friday as Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations remained a low-key affair in the city amid the COVID-19 restrictions.

The celebrations, marking the end of the holy month of Ramzan, which would have been an opportunity to meet and greet relatives and friends in a different time and year, was limited to a timid affair due to the unrelenting scare of the coronavirus infection.

Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Ahmed Bukhari said the celebrations were affected because of the pandemic.

'People were troubled this year. The happiness that comes with Ramzan and Eid was also missing. Some were sick, there were so many deaths. Even if somebody dies in the neighbourhood, a Hindu or Muslim, it affects you personally,' Bukhari told PTI.

He said usually people come to his house throughout the day on Eid, but 'today we only talked on phone or conference calls'.

Delhi-based student Kulsum Jaha rued that there were no guests at her home this time.

'Usually there are guests throughout the day. The number of dishes also reduced so much. It's just not the same this year. And the COVID situation is just so scary,' she said.

This was the third time in a row that Eid was celebrated in a subdued manner in the national capital. Last year, Eid-ul-Fitr in May and Eid-ul-Azha in July were celebrated under the shadow of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was 'almost a norm' for Adnan Saifi, manager at a healthcare company, to go out for iftar and host parties in the month of Ramzan, but the pandemic has restricted all such social meetings and Eid was 'no different'.

'Eid was also no different. No shopping, no congregational prayers, no visits and no elaborate menu at home, Eid seemed like just another weekend with good food and no work. However, being alive and healthy in this COVID era is like an Eid itself,' Saifi said.

Delhi reported 8,506 new cases, the lowest since April 10, on Friday with a positivity rate of 12.40 per cent, even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pointed out that the number of serious patients has not declined much as ICU beds in hospitals are still full.

The less number of fresh cases can also be attributed to a smaller number of tests -- 68575 -- conducted on Thursday.

Delhi University student Afrida Sneha Wazbee also missed the 'fun affair' of getting to meet family and friends, and having 'yummy food' to on Eid.

'Normally, we used to send people food or we used to receive food during the month of Ramzan but because of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and fear of the virus, we weren't able to do that. Getting to meet relatives, family and friends -- visiting them, eating the yummy food, be it Pulao, chicken, etc. It was overall a fun affair,' she said.

However, this year Ramzan felt 'more spiritual' for her, as 'we had a lot of time, and we did end up reading the Quran and offering namaz'. PTI MAH AQS AQS

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