Ijtema begins amid tight security

The Biswa Ijtema has got underway on the Bank of the Turag River at Tongi amid tight security necessitated by the BNP's nationwide blockade.

Gazipur Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 9 Jan 2015, 07:24 AM
Updated : 9 Jan 2015, 09:12 AM

Devotees from all parts of f Bangladesh and the rest of the world have come to take part in the Biswa Ijtema -- the world congregation of Muslims -- billed as the second largest annual gathering of Muslims after the Hajj.

The first phase began with a sermon after the Fazr prayers with several hundred thousand devotees taking part.

The initial sermon was given by Pakistan's Maolana Md Ehsan.

Tongi has turned into a town of religious festival.

President Md Abdul Hamid and PrimeMinister Sheikh Hasina have extended greetings on the occasion of the BiswaItjema.

Its first phase will end on Sunday afterthe Akheri Monazat is held before the Johr prayers.

The second phase will begin four dayslater, on Jan 16. The gathering will end on Jan 18 through the Akheri Monazat.

Despite the transport blockade called bythe BNP and its allies, hundreds of thousands of devotees from Bangladesh and abroadhave congregated on the Tongi grounds.

Around 1:30pm, the devotees will takepart in the country’s biggest Jumma prayers on the Itjema ground.

A five-tier security arrangement hasbeen put in place for the congregation.

Police, Ansar, and RAB personnel,besides various intelligence agencies are taking care of the security measures.

RAB Director General Benazir Ahemd hassaid that a greater number of forces have been deployed this year compared toprevious years.

He told bdnews24.com that RAB personnelhad been divided into several sectors to ensure the security in the entireregion.

This year, helicopter surveillance willbe provided on all six days of the Itemja along with a RAB control room andpatrol.

RAB personnel will provide security atfive levels. CCTV cameras are recording the pictures of the overall securitywork, boats are patrolling the Turag River, RAB personnel are keeping an eyefrom watch towers and a RAB bomb disposal squad in on stand-by.