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The coming Eid ul adha or Bakri Eid should be celebrated in a simple and if possible "symbolic" manner in view of the coronavirus pandemic, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday.

State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh suggested that the ritual of `qurbani' (sacrifice of animal) be conducted "online" if possible, considering the imperatives of lockdown and containment zone restrictions.

Thackeray made the appeal during a video conference which was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Anil Deshmukh, Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik and public representatives including MLAs from the Muslim community.

The festival falls on August 1 this year.

"In the last four months (of lockdown due to coronavirus), we have celebrated festivals of all religions in a restricted manner. Similarly, the coming Bakri Eid should also be celebrated in a simple, and if possible symbolic manner by observing rules," Thackeray was quoted as saying in an official statement.

The pandemic poses a "big challenge", he reminded, asking people to avoid crowding during the festival.

"We will deal with the crisis this year and celebrate all festivals on a big scale next year. Hence there should be no insistence on provision of market place for purchasing goats for Bakri Eid," the chief minister added.

Ajit Pawar thanked people for cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 by rising over caste and religious divides and abiding by rules.

"People have extended cooperation while celebrating all festivals till now (during the lockdown). Similar cooperation is expected while celebrating Bakri Eid. It should be celebrated by respecting religious sentiments," Pawar said, according to the statement.

Deshmukh pointed out that inter-state movement is difficult and said the qurbani ritual should be performed "online", if possible.

"Considering the difficulties with regard to containment zones and strain on the police, Bakri Eid must be celebrated in a simple manner," he added.
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