New Delhi: A festive spirit reigned across the country as Muslims celebrated Eid on Monday with mosques and idgahs overflowing with the devout who offered special prayers, handed out alms, took part in feasts and exchanged gifts and greetings with friends and relatives.
In the capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur drove to the residence of Vice President Hamid Ansari to greet him on the festival which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan.

President, PM greet nation on Eid

Singh, who expressed the hope that the festival will "further strengthen our cultural bonds", also attended a lunch hosted by BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain at the latter's residence.
People dressed in their festive best offered prayers at Jama Masjid, Fathepuri Masjid, Hazrat Nizamuddin and other mosques in the city. They hugged each other and wished "Eid Mubarak", exchanged gifts and enjoyed special dishes, particularly 'sewayian' made of vermicelli and different varieties of biryani and kebabs.
Elders gave 'eidee' (token money) to children and visited relatives and markets decked up for the festival which remain crowded till the wee hours.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his father Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah offered prayers at the Hazratbal Shrine, where more than 7,000 people had congregated.
Barring protests at Eidgah, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated across Kashmir with traditional fervour and gaiety with thousands of devotees flocking to mosques, shrines and prayer grounds in the Valley to offer special prayers.    

The biggest gathering of the devotees was witnessed at Tourist Reception Centre ground near Lal Chowk and Eidgah in the Old City, officials said. Large gatherings were also witnessed at Jenab Sahib Soura, Makhdoom Sahib, Sonawar, Iqra Masjid, Jamia Masjid Barzulla. In Eidgah area, a mob set ablaze a police vehicle and beat up three policemen.

In violence-hit Assam, celebrations passed off peacefully amid tight security. "There are no fresh incidents of violence.... Eid prayers have passed off peacefully," Assam IGP (Law & Order) L R Bishnoi said.
There are reports of Eid celebrations from districts, including Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri, which bore the brunt of the recent ethnic violence. In Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi hoped that Eid will bring lasting peace and amity in the state.

"We will all have to work together and strive for peace," Gogoi said addressing people at the Machkhowa Idgah. The festival passed off peacefully across the country with police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force being deployed in sensitive areas, especially in the wake of developments related to Assam violence which had triggered an exodus of people belonging to the northeast from various parts of the country.
On the frontiers, Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged Eid sweets at the Attari/Wagah Joint Check Post in Punjab and along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.
The two sides maintained the tradition despite heavy firing exchanges long the International border (IB) late Sunday night after Pakistan violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian posts to push in a group of militants in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district, where one intruder was killed.
In West Bengal, thousands of people participated in the Eid prayer braving rains at the Red Road in Kolkata with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing the gathering. Voicing concern over the mass exodus of the northeastern people, Banerjee deplored attempts to rake up trouble.
"Do not listen to rumours. Please maintain peace and harmony," she told the huge congregation for Eid namaz. Banerjee, who had been invited by the Khilafat Committee, said her government had taken up several programmes for the uplift of the minorities since it came to power in 2011 and promised more steps in this regard.


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