Two Tabligh Jamaat factions to be responsible for as many days of the second largest congregation of the world’s Muslims
This year’s Bishwa Ijtema will be held over four days in a single phase from February 15 to 18 — instead of three days each in two phases.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah made the disclosure at a press briefing held at his ministry in the secretariat on Tuesday afternoon, following a meeting with delegations of two feuding Tabligh Jamaat factions.
He said Maulana Zubair Hassan, who leads one of the factions, will supervise the first two days of the Ijtema, and Syed Wasiful Islam, who leads the other group that follows Indian preacher Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, will lead the last two days.
“After hearing the opinions of both factions, we have decided to extend the time to four days,” added the state minister.
He also said that additional law enforcement officials would be deployed at the Ijtema venue, on the bank of Turag River at Tongi, to fend off any unwanted situation.
This time, the work on the ground for smooth holding of the congregation will be done under the supervision of Gazipur City Corporation Mayor Mohammad Jahangir Alam and State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell, Abdullah said.
On Sunday, the Tabligh Jamaat factions had also held two meetings with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and the state minister for religious affairs.
Although Kamal said the second largest congregation of the world’s Muslims would be held without any complications, the factions had failed to come to an understanding on who will supervise the Bishwa Ijtema and who will conduct the prayers.
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After Tuesday’s meeting, State Minister Abdullah said they would reach final decisions on these issues very soon after discussions with both factions.
In the last few years, the Ijtema was organized in two phases, dividing attendees from northern and southern districts, for the sake of maintaining discipline due to the sheer numbers.
The congregation is also joined by numerous Muslims from different countries every year.
The two-phase Ijtem was scheduled to be held on January 11-13 and January 18-20, but they were postponed due to the December 30 general election.
However, following their dispute, which came to light last year through violent clashes and demonstrations, the two Tabligh Jamaat factions had called their own Ijtemas on different dates in January.
But the home minister held a meeting with the factions and later announced that the feud between them was resolved. They factions also reached a consensus to jointly hold the Ijtema in February.
On December 1 last, one person was killed and over 200 people were injured in a series of clashes between the two Tabligh Jamaat groups over establishing control at the Ijtema Maidan on the bank of the Turag River.