Piety, brotherhood mark Eid; Protests in Kashmir Valley

Tens of thousands of faithful flocked to mosques to offer prayers as mass animal sacrifices, traditional piety and the spirit of brotherhood marked Muslim festival Eid-ul-Azha which was celebrated across the country today.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2010, 00:41 AM IST

New Delhi: Tens of thousands of faithful
flocked to mosques to offer prayers as mass animal sacrifices,
traditional piety and the spirit of brotherhood marked Muslim
festival Eid-ul-Azha which was celebrated across the country
today.

With security forces keeping a hawk-eye vigil, the
festivities passed off peacefully save Kashmir Valley where
protesters at some places fought pitched battles with police
who used force to restore calm.

Muslims rededicated themselves to Islamic tenets of
love and piety to mark the Festival of Sacrifice or Bakr-Eid
which commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his
son as an act of obedience to God.

Thousands of sheep and goats were sacrificed as people
distributed the meat among neighbours and relatives on the
pious occasion.

The goats, which were sold, fetched substantial
amounts depending on the weight and holy signs.

Clerics and community leaders delivered sermons on
the occasion of the auspicious festival which occurs the day
after pilgrims conducting Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca
in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount
Arafat.

It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end
of the month of Ramadan.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his Cabinet colleagues
and over 3,000 devotees offered prayers at Eidgah in Jammu as
protests erupted at several places in summer capital Srinagar.

Soon after the prayers, protesters, chanting slogans,
poured on the streets and clashed with security forces at some
places.

A mob set ablaze a police vehicle in Anantnag as
youths hurled stones at security forces who chased them and
used force to restore peace.

Several separatist leaders including chairmen of both
factions of the Hurriyat Conference -- Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and
Syed Ali Shah Geelani -- were placed under house arrest.

The celebrations were sombre in the Valley in view
of the killing of a number of people during the recent unrest.

-PTI