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Millions celebrate Eid across India with prayers for peace, brotherhood
Friday August 9, 2013 6:02 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

Millions of Muslims celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with joy and traditional gaiety across India, home to the world's second largest Muslim population.

The young and old thronged mosques big and small in hundreds of cities and towns in the morning for the main prayers, the festivities disrupted in some areas by monsoon rains, and prayed for peace and brotherhood.

Eid, also known as "Meethi Eid" (Sweet Eid), marks the end of a month of Ramadan fasting.

Some 40-50,000 thronged the 17th century Fatehpuri mosque in Old Delhi, the mass packing the redstone building's corridors and balconies and also the many roads and lanes around it.

"We prayed for the welfare of all people and the country," Naib Imam Moulvi Mohammed Mouzzam Ahmed told IANS. "Once the prayers got over, many Hindus and Sikhs came in to hug their Muslim brothers."

Muslim men -- of all age groups -- also hugged one another after the prayers.

Similar scenes were replicated all across the country, from Jammu and Kashmir in the northern tip to Tamil Nadu in the deep south and from Assam in the northeast to Gujarat on the west coast.

Muslims in Kerala celebrated Eid a day earlier.

For the first time in years, Eid fell on a Friday, making it twice as auspicious, Shabbir Somji, senior member of Khoja Asla Ashri Jamaat, told IANS in Mumbai.

At the historic Burha Jame Mosque in Guwahati, Imam Anowar Hussain led the prayers. "We prayed for lasting peace in Assam," Hussain told IANS. He added: "The true meaning of Islam in peace."

The prayers were followed by festival delicacies including varieties of biryanis and home-made desserts besides fresh fruits.

The famed "sheer-korma" was made in every Muslim home. It is a sweet preparation made of milk, vermicelli, dates, dry fruits and saffron -- and consumed with relish.

Almost everywhere, Muslims were dressed in their finest clothes.

In Mumbai, lakhs of Muslims trooped out of their homes at dawn to the nearest mosque to offer the thanksgiving "khutba". Similar prayer meetings were also held all over Maharashtra.

In Malegaon, a brief halt in rain allowed people to go to Eidgahs oustide city and offer Eid prayers. Over 1.5 lakh people offered special Eid prayers at the city's camp Eidgah. Eid prayers were also held at other Eidgahs. At Mohammadia Eidgah, a large number of women also gathered for the Eid prayers. Adequate arrangments were made for them to offer Eid prayers.

Tens of thousands of Muslims offered 'Namaz-e-Eid' at Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in Andhra Pradesh. Over three lakh people gathered in Hyderabad's historic Miralam Eidgah.

Some imams prayed for an end to conflicts in Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav joined the festivities at Eidgah in Lucknow, and said the festival underlined universal brotherhood and secularism.

In Kolkata, the Red Road saw over 40,000 devotees offer namaz. The festival was an all-inclusive affair with members of other religions also taking part.

Rains failed to dampen the Eid spirit in Chandigarh and some other towns of Punjab and Haryana. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal took part in the celebrations.

Muslims also prayed in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley even as authorities placed separatist leaders under house arrest to maintain law and order.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered prayers at the Hazratbal shrine on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

In Jammu region, curfew was imposed and soldiers were called out in Kishtwar town after about 500 villagers raised pro-independence slogans, sparking clashes between two communities.

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