For the second time this year, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has officialy anounced that it will not hold the Eid-ul-Adha prayers on August 1. According to the statement on the AMU website, no Eid Prayers will be offered in any mosque under the university’s control, including the Jama Masjid.
This is the second such cancellation even as the next phase of unlocking has been announced. According to AMU’s official announcement, this is due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The website states that Prof Mohammad Saleem (Nazim-e-Deeniyat, AMU) has “urged the University employees and not to collect in groups and to offer the Eid prayers at home, according to the guidelines issued in view of the coronavirus outbreak.”
The AMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor conveyed “warm wishes to all members of AMU faculty, alumni, students and citizens of the country on this occasion and urged them to make contributions to help the marginalised.” He too urged, all concerned, to “follow the guidelines issued by the public health authorities.”
The university had earlier cancelled Eid-ul-Fitr prayers in May this year. Then the AMU’s Nazim-e-Deeniyat (Theology), Prof Mohammad Saleem, Nazim-e-Deeniyat, had said “Eid-ul-Fitr prayers are not compulsory and in a situation created by a health threat, people can perform alternative prayers prescribed in Islamic principles.”
The traditional celebration, Eid Milan at the Vice Chancellor’s residence on this occasion was also cancelled due to Covid-19.
The Uttar Pradesh government has already issued guidelines for the upcoming Bakrid a few days ago. No public gathering to offer namaz are allowed, and according to some reports there is also a “ban on the transportation of goat meat and animal slaughter in the open. Section 144 will continue to be in place at mosques along with other religious places.”
According to the Times of India, this advisory was issued by the state police chief on July 24 to the police commissioners of Lucknow and GB. It was stated that “drone cameras should be used to keep a watch on areas with thick populations.”
In Telangana Eid-ul-Adha congregations have been banned in Eidgahs but prayers will be allowed in mosques with certain restrictions, said media reports. The Telangana State Wakf Board announced that only 50 people will be allowed to offer prayers at each mosque, and they too must follow social distancing norms and other Covid-19 protocols. According to a news report, the Wakf Board even suggested that in case there are more worshippers at a mosque, the prayers may be held twice.
Siasat news portal reported that these guidelines have also banned handshakes and hugs. The guidelines also recommend “setting up sheep markets at city outskirts and asked Muslims to avoid converging to buy sheep for ritual sacrifice.” and slaughtering of animals in public spaces, including streets is strictly prohibited. The news report added that the city landmarks of Makkah Masjid and the Shahi Masjid, will remain closed for the public on Eid-ul-Adha.
According to a report in The Wire, the Maharashtra government has asked the Muslim community in the state to celebrate Eid in “a simple manner”. As per a report in the National Herald, all religious programmes are banned, and people have been asked to offer namaz at home and not in the mosques and Eidgahs.
The Wire added that, “people across the state have also been asked to buy goats or sheep for sacrifice either online or over the phone as markets, such as the one in Deonar in Mumbai that people usually throng to buy and sell sacrificial animals, have been shut due to the pandemic. The government’s guidelines said “qurbani” and the Bakrid celebrations should be symbolic this year.”
In Madhya Pradesh, Aaj Tak reported that the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government extended the lockdown for ten days, including on Bakrid. Here too offering prayers in public places is banned and traditional livestock markets are shut.
The Bangalore Mirror has reported similar guidelines from Karnataka’s BJP government. The government’s order said handshakes and traditional hugging after the prayers won’t be allowed and each person must bring their own prayer mat to the mosques which will allow only 50 worshipers.
The Wire quotes a PTI report from Gujarat where Ahmedabad and Surat police have prohibited animal sacrifice in public places, as well private places if it is visible to the public. According to the report “the commissioners’ notifications said that such sacrifices ‘would hurt sentiments of people of other faiths and it would disrupt communal harmony’.