Jama Masjid packed with Muslim devotees offering Eid prayers, in Delhi. (Photo| PTI)
Jama Masjid packed with Muslim devotees offering Eid prayers, in Delhi. (Photo| PTI)

With COVID curbs gone, Delhiites come out to celebrate Eid with vigour

Several mosques, to avoid heat shifted the namaz timings, while some held the prayers in different shifts to accommodate scores of devotees.

NEW DELHI: After a two-year-long hiatus, mosques across the city including the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi on Tuesday were packed with devotees lined up to offer prayers on Eid. The Jama Masjid and the Fatehpuri Masjid in the Walled City were full to capacity and those who could not enter, lined up outside the complex to offer prayers.

Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid said that the number of devotees was higher than the pre-COVID crowd. "There were more people than one would hope for. The environment was different altogether and excitement was seen among people, eager to celebrate the festival after two long years," said Bukhari.

Over the past two years, there were many restrictions put on religious activities due to the pandemic which forced the people to offer prayers at home. He added that the city was bound with fear with rise in COVID-19.

"For the last two years, only 20-30 people including the staff and family members used to offer prayers at the mosque. However, this year, people came out and hugged each other without any fear," he said.

Also, several mosques, to avoid heat shifted the namaz timings, while some held the prayers in different shifts to accommodate scores of devotees. "The namaz is offered after sunrise, usually around 8-9 am. But this time, we shifting the time keeping in mind the scorching heat," said Bukhari.

According to the police officials, tight security arrangements were put in place at major religious places to ensure peaceful progression during the festival. Intensive patrolling was carried out in various mosques and clerics were briefed about the court guidelines over the usage of loudspeakers.

Meanwhile, devotees who came to offer namaz at the mosque inside the Feroz Shah Kotla fort were charged Rs 25 ticket to enter the premises to offer prayers. A cleric at the mosque said, "It has been more than 60 years that people have been coming to offer namaz here but this was the first time that they were asked to get a ticket to enter the fort, which made many people go back."

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