Muslims in Bangladesh are refusing to be rattled by a terror attack near the largest congregation ground hard on the heels of the bloody carnage at a Dhaka cafe.
This year, too, tens of millions of Muslims left home early on Thursday for prayer grounds and mosques with the hope that the Eid will bring joy for all and help the nation come to terms with one of the darkest chapters in its history.
At the main congregation in Dhaka’s National Eidgah Maidan at 8:30am, the hope reflected in the prayer for peace and prosperity.
But before the clock struck 9 in the morning, a group of gunmen launched an assault on a police despatch just some 250 metres from the ground of the largest Eid congregation at Sholakia in Kishoreganj.
Two policemen died in the bomb explosions by the militants. A woman died after being his by a stray bullet in the subsequent firefight. A suspected militant was also killed.
At least six police personnel and four others were wounded.
The attack came in a week of the deadliest terror attack in Bangladesh that left 22 people, including 17 foreigners and two policemen killed. Six others, five of them gunmen who laid a siege and took hostages, mostly foreigners, were also killed.
It is yet unclear who carried out the attack on the path thousands of Muslims follow to the prayer ground.
The blasts initially caused panic among the thousands of devotees, who were beginning to gather near the ground, but the prayers were not disrupted.
President Md Abdul Hamid expressed his shock over the incident and prayed for those killed in the attack, while wishing the injured a sppedy recovery.
Hinting at the Gulshan and Sholakia attacks, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “They have killed people instead of offering their prayers at time for prayers. How can this be a way to protect Islam?”
“… those who carry out such heinous crimes don’t believe in Islam in reality. They are the enemies of Islam.”
She was speaking at a programme to exchange Eid greetings with the people.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Jatiya Party Chief HM Ershad have condemned the terrorist attack in Sholakia.
State-run hospitals, children’s homes, disability centres, shelter homes, safe homes and jails have served special meals for their residents.