Thiruvananthapuram : With the Covid-19 crisis still looming large over Kerala, Muslims in the southern state on Friday celebrated Eid al-Adha or Bakrid in a low-key manner.
Of the 3.34 crore population in Kerala, the Muslims account for 88.73 lakh, with the community present in good numbers in districts like Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargode, where the mood was sombre during the day.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held discussions with clerics and other community leaders last week and asked them to see that all Bakrid celebrations, including prayers, were kept to the minimum. The community leaders had agreed to the suggestion.
Consequently, there were no offering of prayers in large public gatherings while prayers held in big mosques had not more than 100 faithful each.
Many mosques remained closed, while those that opened saw to it that all health and other protocols were observed as prayers were conducted.
Many of the mosques that were open provided live coverage of the prayers through their own YouTube channels for the benefit of those sitting at home.
Saifudeen Haji, an office-bearer of Vallakkadavu Muslim Jamath in the heart of the city, told IANS that everything went as per the Covid norms and no Muslim 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, his name registered, hands sanitized 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, all left and the mosque was closed," Haji said.
In Muslim homes, it was more of a close family affair, with feast included mutton and other delicacies. 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 dresses, 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.