Prayers, piety mark Eid

Tens of thousands of Muslims thronged mosques to offer prayers as mass animal sacrifices, piety and spirit of brotherhood marked Eid-ul-Azha which was celebrated across the country today with traditional fervour.

With security forces keeping a hawk-eye vigil, the festivities passed off peacefully barring an incident of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar.

Muslims rededicated themselves to Islamic tenets of love and piety to mark the Festival of Sacrifice which commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

Thousands of sheep and goats were sacrificed as people distributed the meat among neighbours and relatives on the pious occasion.

Clerics and community leaders delivered sermons on the occasion of the festival which occurs the day after pilgrims conducting Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat.

Imams, in their speeches, asked the faithful to follow principles of love, compassion and kindness as preached by Islam.

Congregational prayers passed off peacefully across Kashmir Valley except an incident of stone-pelting in an old city area in Srinagar in which a woman was injured.

Police resorted to baton-charge and fired tear smoke shells to restore calm, officials said.
In the national capital, the faithful assembled for prayers at Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid as young and old alike, dressed in their festive best, visited the houses of their relatives exchanging gifts.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the nation on the occasion saying the festival epitomises the noble values of sacrifice, trust and forgiveness.

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