March 19 (AFP) – A massive coronavirus prayer session with tens of thousands of devotees sparked an outcry in Bangladesh Wednesday as the South Asian nation reported its first death from the global pandemic.
Local police chief Tota Miah said some 10,000 Muslims gathered in an open field in Raipur town in southern Bangladesh to pray “healing verses” from the Koran to rid the country of the deadly virus.
“They held the Khatme Shifa prayers after dawn to free the country from the coronavirus,” Miah told AFP.
Organisers claimed the number of worshippers was 25,000.
He said organisers did not get permission from authorities to hold the session.
Photos of the gathering was widely shared on social media, with commenters slamming the massive rally.
Authorities have already shut schools and asked locals to avoid large gatherings in an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
“Unbelievable how they even have done it without notifying the police? They will be held responsible if anything happens to the people in the region,” Abdur Rahman wrote on Facebook.