Bangladesh announces three-day public holiday

Tens of thousands of holiday-makers crammed into trains, buses and ferries Thursday as they headed home to celebrate the largest festival in the Islamic calendar with their families. Muslim-majority Bangladesh announced a three-day public holiday starting Thursday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a feast marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The official celebration takes place either Friday or Saturday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

More than 60 percent of the capital city's 10 million people are expected to leave for their village homes to celebrate the festival with their families, city officials said.

Most of the migrant workers in the cities have families in the villages, where nearly 80 percent of Bangladesh's 140 million population live.

But the mass exodus regularly strains the country's already over-stretched public transportation network.

Unable to get tickets, many desperate travelers perch on roofs of trains, buses and river ferries, ignoring safety warnings.

"Tickets are out of supply. But I must go home and see my mother," said Abdur Rahim, a 25-year-old college student, as he climbed to the roof of an overcrowded train in Dhaka's main Kamalapur station Thursday.

However, Eid vacations have been canceled for police to ensure extra security across Bangladesh ahead of a summit of the seven-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, on Nov.12-13, police said, reports the AP. I.L.

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