Dhaka, Ap 18 (efe-epa).- Thousands of people defied a government lockdown on Saturday to attend the funeral prayer of an Islamist leader in eastern Bangladesh as the number of coronavirus cases topped 2,000 in the country.
Police said at least 8,000 to 10,000 people joined the prayer of Jubayer Ahmed Ansari, a leader of Islamist political party Khelafat Majlish, in Sarail area of eastern Brahmanbaria district, ignoring the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Ansari, founder of a local madrasah (Islamic school), died of cancer on Friday.
“We spoke to the family to hold the prayer with a limited number of people and they promised us to do so. But in the morning during the funeral time people started coming en masse and we could not stop them,” Sarail police chief Shahadat Hossain told Efe.
“We assumed 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the event. It was an emotional moment, if we had resisted people there could have been big trouble. We told them in loudspeakers to maintain the social distance, but we could not succeed,” he said.
Local media put the number of attendants to the prayer around 50,000 people while an aide of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in Facebook post some 100,000 people attended the funeral prayer of Ansari.
Bangladesh Islamic Foundation earlier this month ordered not more than five people to gather in mosque for regular prayers, and not more than 10 people for Friday prayer as the country was struggling to stop the spread of the virus.
The government has locked down the entire country, declaring a general holiday until April 25 in the country, with offices, factories, schools, and markets asked to shutdown.
Moreover, on 10 April, authorities banned people from stepping outside their houses after 6 pm.
The health authorities on Saturday reported 306 new cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus to 2,144.
Nine people have died during the period pushing the death toll from virus to 84 in the country. EFE-EPA