More than 100,000 attend mass funeral for Muslim cleric in Bangladesh


April 20 (UPI) — More than 100,000 people in Bangladesh defied restrictions on mass gatherings to attend the funeral of Muslim cleric Maulana Zubayer Ahmad Ansari on Sunday.

Mohammad Maunul Haque, joint secretary general of the Islamist party, said people walked into the streets of the Brahmanbaria district from the surrounding area, defying the country’s ban on more than five people attending prayers at one time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Police were unable to contain the crowd after police officer Shahadat Hossain Tipu said that officials urged Ansari’s family to hold a funeral with only close relatives.

“We never thought that such a large number of people would show up at a time when there is a countrywide lockdown. They came from all sides — even through the fields and other normally unused routes,” said Tipu.

Bangladesh Police Central spokesman Sohel Rana said the officer in charge and assistant superintendent were withdrawn from the event and police formed a committee to determine how such a large gathering was allowed to form.

Bangladesh has recorded 2,456 cases of COVID-19 and 91 deaths related to the virus.


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