Biswa Ijtema, one of the largest Muslim congregations in the world, begins on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi today. The Ijtema to be held for four days this time will begin with "a'm bayan" (general sermons) after Fazr prayers. On the first two days, followers of Maulana Jubair Hassan will participate in the Biswa Ijtema today and tomorrow and they will leave the ground after Akheri Munajat tomorrow afternoon. Later, the followers of Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi will take part in the Biswa Ijtema on Sunday and Monday and conduct their Akheri Munajat on the last day.
Several lakh devotes are expected to offer Juma prayers on the first day of the Ijtema. Thousands of devotees from home and abroad started thronging the bank of the Turag River to take part in the religious event to seek divine blessings of the Almighty Allah. Meanwhile, preparations for smoothly holding the Muslim congregation have already completed.
An eight-layer security measure has been taken for the event with the deployment of huge members of different law enforcement agencies in and around the Ijtema ground. The venue has been brought under CCTV surveillance.
There will be special train and bus services to ease the communication of the devotees.
Our Staff Reporter adds: Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has ensured a foolproof security plan for Bishwa Ijtema to be held on the banks of Turag River at Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka.
“We will provide 24-hour security on water, land and air,” RAB director general (DG) Benazir Ahmed told reporters at Karwan Bazar media centre yesterday.
“We hope that the people responsible for hosting Ijtema will be personally and collectively accountable to the state and Islam. All the rules will be followed as discussed with the government. After the end of the first batch for Ijtema, the devotees will go peacefully and later another group will come,” the DG added.
Ahmed also warned against spreading unverified news on social media. “If anyone sends you rumours, then don’t share it. If you are not sure about a news item and share the rumour without checking, it will have terrible consequences,” he said. The RAB chief admitted that this year the challenge for Ijtema was a little more due to year-long disagreements between the organisers. “For this reason, the law enforcement agencies will be on high alert,” he added.
Ahmed called on Tabligh’s mentor and devotees to ensure smooth conduct of the congregation. “They will be here to seek Allah’s blessings. Any kind of chaos or anarchy won’t happen. They also have the responsibility to ensure this,” he said.
“If you face any difficulties, you tell us. We will take all measures to mitigate them. There will be foreign guests and they will come from far away to seek Allah’s blessings,” he added.
Ahmed also cautioned against mischief mongers. “Everyone should be careful about whether a third party tries to create trouble. We will be alert and if someone tries to do such a thing, we will crack down on the troublemakers,” he said. Several mobile patrol teams, surveillance cars, motorbikes and policemen in civil dress will ensure security at the Ijtema venue, he informed.
Speedboats and expert helicopter teams will also be available to ensure security on water and air, he said. “Moreover, 24-hour CCTV surveillance will be available on the Ijtema premises. Extra security will be ensured for foreigners,” he added.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police Commissioner YM Belalur Rahman said the Ijtema ground is under CCTV surveillance and watchtowers have been set up to ensure security.
Members of law enforcement agencies are performing their duties while intelligence surveillance has been beefed up. “Though there’s no specific threat, we’ve taken right security measures considering all aspects,” he said.
Check-posts have been set up in lanes, intersections and all the entries of the ground, said the GMP commissioner.
Besides, free medical camps have been set up near the Ijtema ground to provide free health care services and medicines among the devotees.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Sheikh Abdullah and State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel inaugurated the camps.
The first phase of Biswa Ijtem was scheduled to be held from January 11 to 13 while the second one from January 18 to 20 last, but those were postponed due to the December-30 national election. Later, it was decided that the Biswa Ijteam would be held once instead of two phases this year. Tabligh Jamaat has been organising the Ijtema at the venue since 1967.