Telangana Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali on Saturday appealed to Muslims not to sacrifice cows during the festival of Bakrid on August 1. In an official release, the senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader observed that the state is known for secularism where all religions are treated with mutual and equal respect, and added that Bakrid should be celebrated in the same spirit.
Ali, who had a meeting with Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) M Mahendar Reddy on the measures to be taken for Bakrid, said that cows should not be sacrificed as Hindus worship them. Goats and other animals can be sacrificed, he said.
"Secularism is promoted during the present TRS regime," he said in a video message, adding, "Secularism existed even during the Nizam and Qutb Shahi rule, with the four minarets of the historic Charminar in the city seen as symbols of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christianity, all having equal respect."
He also said safe distance should be maintained at the time of prayers, and during sale and purchase of animals in order to keep COVID-19 at bay.
Mahmood Ali himself had tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month and was briefly availing treatment at a private hospital in Hyderabad before he was discharged.
In the first week of June, a decree issued by Jamia Nizamia, a leading Islamic seminary in Hyderabad said that Muslims, who can't sacrifice sheep or goats on Eid-ul-Azha this time due to the COVID-19 situation, can donate an equivalent amount of money to the poor instead.
Also known as Bakrid or Eid-e-Qurban, Eid-ul-Azha is the second major festival of Muslims and it is celebrated on 10th of Zul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
In India, Eid is scheduled to be celebrated on July 31 or August 1 depending on when the Zul Hijjah moon is sighted. Muslims sacrifice goats, sheep or cattle on the occasion.
The meat of the sacrificed animal is distributed equally in three parts. The person making the sacrifice keeps one part for his family while the other two parts are distributed among relatives and the poor.
Last year, goats or sheep were sold for Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 each in Hyderabad. Hundreds of animals are transported from villages to the capital city on the eve of Eid and are sold in several busy localities in the city.
This year, in view of the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, the traders are not likely to set up makeshift tents for the sale this time while buyers may also not venture out due to the pandemic scare.
Eid-ul-Fitr, the other major Muslim festival marking the culmination of holy month of Ramzan, was also celebrated under the shadow of COVID-19. The subdued celebrations in May saw Muslims offering prayers at home and avoiding visits to relatives and friends for greetings.
With PTI and IANS inputs