Thousands defy lockdown to attend funeral of Muslim cleric in Bangladesh

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 07:47 IST | Agencies | Dhaka

Like many other countries where religious congregations are turning out to be a major multiplier in the pandemic, the Saturday funeral gathering could become Bangladesh's hotspot for the outbreak

Mourners at the funeral. Pic/AFP
Mourners at the funeral. Pic/AFP

Thousands of people on Saturday defied the countrywide lockdown to attend the funeral of a Muslim cleric in Bangladesh, triggering fears of rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The news media in Bangladesh reported that thousands of people, without masks and in clear violations of social distancing, participated in the funeral prayers of Khelafat Majlish's 'Nayeb-e Amir' Maulana Zubayer Ahmad Ansari, held at a madrasa in Bertola village under Sorail Upazila of Brahmanbaria district. The cleric had passed away at his home last night.

The gathering was large and the authorities did not stop it, media reports said. Noted Bangladeshi author, Taslima Nasreen, who lives in exile in Sweden, tweeted that 50,000 people had attended the funeral prayers, defying the ban on mass gatherings during the lockdown. "Stupid government didn't even try to stop these stupid people," she tweeted.

Like many other countries where religious congregations are turning out to be a major multiplier in the pandemic, the Saturday funeral gathering could become Bangladesh's hotspot for the outbreak. So far, over 2,100 people have tested positive and 84 have died due to Coronavirus in Bangladesh.

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