Thousands defy coronavirus health rules at Brahmanbaria funeral again

A huge number of people have gathered in Brahmabaria for the Namaz-e-Janaza of an Islamic scholar defying health rules stoking fears of a fresh spate of coronavirus transmission.

It cane nearly three months after a similar gathering in the district made headlines the world over.

Police have cited the vast number of people attending the funeral as the reason behind the failure to make the attendees follow the rules on Sunday afternoon.

After the previous Janaza at Sarail Upazila on Apr 18 amid a lockdown, the authorities removed several police officials from the district following criticism.

Though the offices have reopened, the government has made wearing masks outdoors mandatory. Physical distancing is also necessary to reduce the risk of infection.

However, thousands of fans of Moniruzzaman Siraji gathered shoulder to shoulder without wearing masks at Jamia Sirajea Darul Uloom madrasa at Bhadughar for Moniruzzaman’s Janaza on Sunday afternoon.

Moniruzzaman, the principal of the madrasa and son of Allama Sirajul Islam who was a renowned Islamic scholar of the Indian sub-continent, died earlier in the day from old-age complications at the age of 90.

His grandson Maulana Khaled Saifullah led the funeral after Asr prayers. Moniruzzaman was buried next to his father at Bhadughar.

The crowds of worshippers got so big at one stage that they even spilled onto the Cumilla-Sylhet Highway blocking traffic.

Police were silent observers.

Mozammel Hossain Reza, Brahmanbaria additional superintendent of police, told that the police told the organisers of the Janaza to follow the health rules.

“We’ve tried,” he said, adding that top officials were present there.

The district’s administrator Deputy Commissioner Hayat-Ud-Dowllah Khan, Superintendent of Police Muhammad Anisur Rahman, the ruling Awami League’s district unit General Secretary Al Mamun Sarker and several other politicians from different parties visited the family after Moniruzzaman’s death.