People in Kerala are celebrating the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha or Bakrid on Friday in a low-key manner, following COVID-19 protocol.
Last week, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held discussions with clerics and other community leaders and asked them to see that all Bakrid celebrations, including prayers, were kept to the minimum. The community leaders agreed to the suggestion.
Consequently, there have been no large public gatherings while prayers held in big mosques had not more than 100 devotees each.
Many mosques remained closed, while those that opened saw to it that all precautions were observed as prayers were conducted.
Many of the mosques that were open provided live coverage of the prayers through their YouTube channels for the benefit of those sitting at home.
Saifudeen Haji, an office-bearer of Vallakkadavu Muslim Jamath in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city, told IANS that everything went as per the Covid norms and no devotee below the age of 10 and above 60 had come to join the prayers.
"As per the government directive, we closed the gates of the mosque when the number touched 100, as it was made clear that admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Every visitor was thermally scanned, their name registered, hands sanitised and allowed to enter with mask. Those who came without their own spread mats were not given entry. The prayers and the brief message lasted just 20 minutes and when it got over, everyone left and the mosque was closed," Haji said.
In homes, it was more of a close family affair with little feasts. The government had allowed the opening of meat stalls even in areas under lockdown, allowing people to go out and buy necessities during the festivities.
"Contrary to the general practice when people flaunt new clothes, modesty is being practised as the mankind is passing through untold misery due to the coronavirus pandemic," added Haji.
The Kerala government has declared a public holiday in all offices.
(With IANS input)