Srinagar: Eid-ul Azha, the Muslim festival marking the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim, was today celebrated across Kashmir and Jammu with the community members offering prayers, even as clashes were witnessed in some parts of the Valley in which three people were injured.
Dressed in their best attires, Muslim men and women of all ages made a beeline to Eidgahs (prayer grounds) to offer special prayer in the morning.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, his predecessor Omar Abdullah, former Union minister Farooq Abdullah joined thousands of devotees to offer prayers at Syed Yaqoob Shah Shrine at Sonawar here.
The biggest congregation was held at Eidgah in the old city followed by Hazratbal shrine on the banks of the famous Dal Lake. Similar large congregations were reported from all districts of Kashmir Valley.
Thousands of sheep and goats were sacrificed across the Valley after the prayer. The meat was then distributed among relatives, neighbours and the destitute.
Children were a happy lot as they got 'Eidi' (Eid gift in cash) from their elders and then, wearing fancy dresses, made their way to gardens and parks after the prayers. There were bursting of crackers also.
Eid was celebrated with gaiety in Jammu region also with members of other communities exchanging greetings with Muslims on the occasion.
Meanwhile, parts of Kashmir saw clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces in which three people, including two journalists, were injured even as even as authorities placed separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest.
Clashes were reported from some areas of Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla districts.
In Srinagar, the clashes took place in Eidgah, Rajouri Kadal and some other areas of old city, a police officer said.
Soon after Eid prayers, mobs started pelting stones at police and paramilitary forces in several areas of Srinagar, the officer said.
Flags of Pakistan and militant group Al-Jehad were also waved by some youth in some areas of old Srinagar, he said.
Security forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the mobs, the officer said, adding a photojournalist and a videojournalist were injured in the clashes.
Similar clashes were reported Anantnag and Baramulla.
During a clash in Sopore in Baramulla, a boy was injured in the leg due to a tear smoke shell, the police officer said, adding his condition is stable.
Internet services were snapped since this morning till
tomorrow night as authorities apprehended misuse of social media to create communal tension over the beef ban. This caused difficulties to people who wanted to greet their kin and friends in other parts of the country and abroad.
The authorities also placed most of the separatist leaders, including the heads of both factions of Hurriyat conference, under house arrest.
Geelani, Farooq, Yasin Malik, Sabhir Shah and many other separatist leaders were put under house arrest in view of the apprehension of law and order problem, police said.
Some separatist groups had said they would defy the court order even though Geelani had appealed that religious sentiments of any community should not be hurt intentionally, in an apparent reference to Hindus whose sentiments are attached to the cow.
"When, on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Azha... We will be sacrificing animals, it will not be to hurt any particular community or tribe, but it is our religious obligation which is in practice from long ago and we will continue to practice it in future too," the hardline separatist leader had said.
"We should adopt a dignified approach for this dignified religious obligation... The aim of these sacrifices... Should not be to intentionally hurt the sentiments of any community," he had said.