New Delhi: A festive atmosphere reigned across the country as Muslims celebrated Eid on Wednesday with mosques and idgahs overflowing with the devout who offered special prayers, handed out alms to the needy and exchanged gifts and greetings with friends and relatives.
   
In the capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drove to Vice President Hamid Ansari's residence to wish him on the occasion. Singh, who was accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some ministers, said the festival highlights the spirit of sacrifice and the joy of sharing.
   
People dressed in their festive best offered prayers at Jama Masjid, Fathepuri Masjid, Hazrat Nizamuddin and other mosques in the city, marking the culmination of month-long fasting during Ramzan.
   
They hugged each other and wished "Eid Mubarak", exchanged gifts and enjoyed special dishes, particularly 'sewayian' made of vermicelli and different varieties of
biryani. Elders gave 'eidee' (token money) to children dressed in colourful attire and visited relatives.
   
In Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered prayers at Sonwar shrine. The largest gathering was witnessed at Eidgah in downtown Srinagar, where moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq delivered the sermon, followed by Hazratbal shrine.
   
Thousands of people offered prayers at Baramulla, Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama and Kupwara districts.   

Youths burst crackers to celebrate the occasion. Shops and stalls were decked for the festival and remained crowded till the wee hours.
   
Police said two persons were injured in clashes between stonepleters and police which erupted in some parts of the Valley after Eid prayers.

The borders too were drenched in festivities as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets along the Line of Control (LoC) at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch. BSF officers exchanged greeting with Pak Chinab Rangers at Octerio border out post along the international border in R S Pura sub-sector in Jammu district UP Chief Minister Mayawati visited Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow and greeted people on the occasion of Eid.
   
"We prayed for the nation's prosperity and communal harmony," head cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahli told reporters.
   
Tight security arrangements were made by authorities in several states, including in UP where 60 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary, Rapid Action Force and Rapid Response Force were deployed. Major congregations were held in
Allahabad, Varanasi, Bareilly, Varanasi and Agra and the festival was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety.
   
In Kolkata, the main Eid prayers, traditionally held on Red Road in the Maidan area of the city, were led by Maulana Kari Fazlur Rahaman.
     
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted the worshippers after the prayers, the first time that a state chief minister visited the prayer site on Eid in the state.
       
Prayers were also held at the city's heritage Nakhoda Mosque and the Tipu Sultan Mosque and other houses of worship in Rajabazar, Kolutolla, Park Circus and Khidderpore areas.
   
Fairs were organised in many districts on the occasion. In Tamil Nadu, special 'namaz' were organised in Big Mosque (Triplicane) and Thousand Lights Mosque in Chennai, the Nagore dargah and the mosque in Goripalayam in Madurai.
   
Several Bollywood and sport personalities took to social networking sites to wish their friends and fans good health and happiness.

Muslims in large numbers offered prayers and greeted each other at Chandigarh's Sector 20 mosque. In Malerkotla, Ludhiana, Patiala, Moga, Amritsar and Jalandhar in Punjab and at Ambala, Panipat, Mewat, Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana, Eid was celebrated with traditional enthusiasm.

Sport personalities including Zaheer and Rohit Sharma sent across their wishes for Eid ul-Fitr.
    
"Eid Mubarak to all !! Miss being home on Eid," Zaheer Khan tweeted.In Kozhikode, Kerala, the cultural heartland of Muslims, prayers were held in mosques as heavy rains prevented the Id namaz planned to be held outdoors.
   

India, Pak troops exchange sweets, greetings on Eid
   

Indian and Pakistani troops on Wednesday exchanged greetings and sweets along the Line of Control (LoC) at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
   
The Pakistan army officials were led by Commandant of 11th Baloch Regiment, Colonel Umar Gul and Major Matloob, while the Indian side was led by Colonel D P Cristopher.
   
The flag meeting, which lasted for an hour, was held in a cordial atmosphere.
   
Similarly, BSF officers met Pak Chinab Rangers at a Octerio border out post along the international border in R S Pura sub-sector in Jammu district and exchanged greetings on the occasion.

Chinese Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr
   
Millions of Muslims across China on Wednesday celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramzan.
   
Muslims of different ethnic groups in northwest China's restive Xinjiang Uygur and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions, as well as in other Muslim-populated regions thronged mosques and offered morning prayers.
   
China has 20 million Muslims, of which about half are from the Hui ethnic group.

 

Bollywood says Eid Mubarak!

The film fraternity comes together to celebrate every festival and Bollywood celebs have sent across their wishes to friends and fans on Eid ul-Fitr.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "Eid Mubarrak to all brothers and sisters, young and old, near and dear...!! Happy greetings for EID! May there be peace and love among all... and may all your wishes come true."

"Eid Mubarak to all," actress Bipasha Basu wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Akshay Kumar tweeted, "Eid Mubarak to all. May all your fasting, prayers and duaa's be accepted. And don't forget my Eidi, your never ending love."

"Eid Mubarak to all! May the blessings of Allah fill your life with joy and prosperity!," wrote Vivek Oberoi.

R Madhavan tweeted, "EID Mubaarak to all of you. May your year be filled with Love, Peace and Happiness."

Actor Boman Irani and singer Sunidhi Chauhan also wished 'Eid Mubarak', while actress Shriya Saran said, "Excited for EID.Wanna eat haleem and biryani.""Eid Mubaarak to all my Indian sisters and brothers. Sometimes I feel that all these festivals are glittering ornaments on the body of time," said lyricist Javed Akhtar.
    
Some expressed their love for special foods prepared for the festival.
    
"Eid mubarak! I am all set for biryani at my dear friends tonite! Dieting ki holiday!," actress Divya Dutta tweeted.
   
Sport personalities including Zaheer and Rohit Sharma sent across their wishes for Eid ul-Fitr.
    
"Eid Mubarak to all !! Miss being home on Eid," Zaheer Khan tweeted.In Kozhikode, Kerala, the cultural heartland of Muslims, prayers were held in mosques as heavy rains prevented the Id namaz planned to be held outdoors.
   

Barack Obama greets Muslims on Eid

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has greeted Muslims across the globe on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and referring to the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa said that his country would continue to stand by all those people in their efforts to secure basic necessities and fundamental freedoms.

"Michelle and I would like to send Eid greetings to Muslim communities in the US and around the world. Ramadan has been a time for families and communities to share the happiness of coming together in intense devotion, reflection, and service," Obama said in his special Eid message.

"Millions all over the world have been inspired to honour their faith by reaching out to those less fortunate. This year, many have observed the month while courageously persevering in their efforts to secure basic necessities and fundamental freedoms," he said.
In a statement to Muslims in the US and around the world on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr, the three-day feast at the end of Ramadan, Obama said, "The United States will continue to stand with them and for the dignity and rights of all people, whether a hungry child in the Horn of Africa or a young person demanding freedom in the Middle East and North Africa".     

"As Ramadan comes to an end, we send our best wishes for a blessed holiday to Muslim communities around the world. Eid Mubarak," Obama said.

 

Tense Libyan capital celebrates 'double' Eid

Ripped portraits of Muammar Gaddafi, traffic jams, police patrols... such sights would have been unthinkable a week ago when street clashes pitted backers of the Libyan regime against rebels.

These flickers of a return to normal life mark the onset in Tripoli of Eid al-Fitr, the three-day feast at the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"This Eid is a double celebration: we are celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid-of Freedom," said Sheikh Tareq Ahmed Abbas, who preaches in a mosque in the city centre.

He said the main concern of Tripoli residents on the eve of Eid al-Fitr has been safety.

"Gaddafi released and armed prisoners to kill the revolution. Young men have ransacked military barracks for weapons. Celebratory gunfire by rebels reached scary proportions. Security is a major issue for residents," Abbas said.

While on the surface the capital may wear the colours and spout the slogans of the February 17 revolution, Gaddafi sympathisers do remain, particularly among the older generation.

"Some people can't just change their minds after 42 years," said Abbas.

He said differences breed hatred and raise tension in a city flooded with weaponry. The rebels still have to win the hearts and minds of those who strongly supported the Gaddafi regime.

While many celebrate Tripoli's new-found freedom, others see a capital damaged by NATO air strikes and resent the loss of the life and damage to property that followed the rebels' triumph.

 "People are still hesitant," said Salima Mohammed, 54, who ventured out of her home for the first time today only because she needed to buy food to prepare the Eid feast for her family of nine.

 Rumours abound that Gaddafi is preparing "a surprise" on Eid which would have marked the 42nd anniversary of the revolution that brought him to power in 1969.

(JPN/Agencies)