A customary exchange of sweets between the security forces of India and Pakistan on Eid ul-Fitr failed to take place at the Attari-Wagah border on Saturday due to frequent ceasefire violations on the Jammu and Kashmir border.
A senior BSF officer said on condition of anonymity that, “Following continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, there was no exchange of sweets at the Attari-Wagah border.” He added that the customary gesture may not be undertaken in future until Pakistan stops ceasefire violations.
The cross border firing continued on Saturday, claiming the life of an Indian soldier in Nowshera. On Tuesday, four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed by Pakistani Rangers in Samba district’s Chamliyal, the army said, despite both side agreeing to maintain a ceasefire at a sector commander-level flag meeting on June 4. Cross border firing by the Pakistani military force has killed 19 people and injured 67 others, besides displacing over one lakh people from the border areas, since May 15.
In Kashmir’s Anantnag town, a 20-year-old man was killed on Saturday when clashes broke out between police and civilians soon after Eid prayers.
However, this did not dampen the festive mood in other parts of the state. The Jammu and Kashmir government ordering the release of 115 prisoners in view of Eid ul-Fitr. Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said inmates who are not accused of serious crimes can be let off on the occasion, so they can celebrate the festival with their families.
Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan for Muslims worldwide. Celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic lunar calendar, it is marked with feasts and the joyous reunion of family members and friends.
All of India, with the exception of Kerala, where it was observed on Friday, is celebrating Eid on Saturday.
Many politicians and national-level leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, extended their greetings to the nation on the occasion of Eid.
“Eid Mubarak and good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters in India and abroad. May this happy occasion bring joy to your families and foster fraternity, understanding and mutual goodwill in our shared society,” President Kovind tweeted.
The Prime Minister also used his social media handle to send his warm greetings to the nation, and call for togetherness in society. “Eid Mubarak! May this day deepen the bonds of unity and harmony in our society,” he tweeted.
Many dignitaries from opposing ends of the country’s political spectrum came together to mark the occasion. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state Congress president Kamal Nath were spotted celebrating Eid together at Bhopal’s Idgah.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted his greetings on the occasion too. “Eid Mubarak! May the Almighty bless us all with peace, happiness, wisdom and good health,” he posted on the social networking site.
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who is currently leading a parliamentary on a tour of Belarus, Latvia and Finland, also took some time out from her busy schedule to extend her greetings to the people. “On the joyous occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, I convey my warmest greetings to all my brothers and sisters. Eid ul-Fitr symbolises the spirit of giving, sharing, and enriches our lives with the eternal values of brotherhood and empathy for the deprived,” she said in a statement. “Let us, on this auspicious occasion, pray for promoting peace, progress, happiness and prosperity for each one of us and the nation.”
The eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal also witnessed largescale revelry, even as their respective chief ministers greeted the people on the occasion.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in his message, hoped that the festival would help strengthen the sentiments of harmony and brotherhood in society. Asserting that India is a country where followers of different faiths coexist in mutual respect, he said: “People share happiness by participating in each other’s festivals, and they respect each other’s religions. This helps maintain the unity and integrity of the country even in adverse situations.”
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to wish the people of the state the very best on the occasion. “May this Eid bring happiness and endless blessings from the Almighty. Eid Mubarak,” she posted.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu went a step further by joining the faithful in offering Eid-ul-Fitr prayers. Wearing a skull cap, he stood with Muslim devotees to offer the Eid ‘namaz’ at the municipal grounds in Vijayawada.
In his address to the gathering later, he conveyed his greetings in Urdu and prayed for the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Muslims across Kerala had celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with religious fervor a day earlier, although the heavy rain forced many of them to remain indoors. Addressing a large congregation, the chief priest at the Palayam Grand Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram also espoused the cause of harmony – stating that intolerance should be combated only with tolerance.
(With agency inputs)