The iconic Jama Masjid in Delhi was deserted as Eid was celebrated on Monday in the coronavirus lockdown. With mosques and other religious places still shut, people offered prayers at home and greeted friends and family online.
A photographer tweeted an aerial shot of Jama Masjid, virtually unrecognisable at 7.30 am, a time when it is crammed with devotees on festival days. According to Sohaib Ilyas, who describes himself as a filmmaker and aerial photographer in his Twitter bio, only the chief cleric, Shahi Imam, and his family offered prayers at the mosque.
"Eid Mubarak to all of you. A Historical Moment: This is a shot from 7.30 in the morning today when the Eid prayer was offered at Jama Masjid. As seen the mosque is empty. Only the Shahi Imam and his family offered the prayer at the mosque," tweeted Sohaib Ilyas.
Eid Mubarak to all of you.— Sohaib Ilyas (@iamsohaibilyas) May 25, 2020
A Historical Moment: This is a shot from 7.30 in the morning today (May 25,2020) when the Eid prayer was offered at Jama Masjid. As seen the mosque is empty. Only the Shahi Imam and his family offered the prayer at the mosque.#EidUlFitr#JamaMasjidpic.twitter.com/LrmznkRq9F
The police in central Delhi said they had made arrangements for Eid and had cautioned people against gathering or crowding.
"People have been appealed to stay home and offer namaz, and not to come out. We have been making announcements since yesterday and appealed to people via social media. People are coming out only for essential items. We are hopeful that people will stay at home and offer Namaz and celebrate Eid," Sanjay Bhatia, a senior police officer, was quoted as telling news agency ANI.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, said he and around 15 to 16 members of the mosque's staff were present for the prayers. "People stayed at home and offered namaz as they did during Ramzan," he was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
"People should serve those in need, including the ones affected by the disease. The virus can be defeated by people through precautions like social distancing," the Shahi Imam said in a message on Eid.
Besides Jama Masjid, the Fatehpuri Masjid in Delhi also looked desolate with only clerics and mosque staff inside.
The Shahi Imam of the Fatehpuri mosque, Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, said people were urged to maintain distancing while celebrating Eid and avoid embracing others and shaking hands.
Eid-ul-Fitr marks the close of Ramzan, the holy month of fasting and prayers for Muslims.
Nationwide, Eid celebrations were subdued because of virus measures.