The 54th Bishwa Ijtema began on the banks of the Turag River on Friday morning
Thousands of Muslims have participated in the massive Jummah congregation (jamaat) on the first day of the four-day long Bishwa Ijtema in Tongi.
The Jummah prayer commenced at the Ijtema ground at 1:40pm while Kakrail mosque’s Pesh Imam Maulana Zubair Hassan administered the prayer.
The 54th Bishwa Ijtema started on the banks of the Turag River, in Gazipur, on Friday morning.
Bishwa Ijtema is the second-largest gathering of Muslims, worldwide. The Ijtema will be held in two phases from February 15-18.
Apart from hundreds of thousands of Muslim devotees who have gathered from all around the country at the Ijtema venue, many local Muslims—from Gazipur and nearby areas—have thronged to the Ijtema ground to offer Jummah prayers.
Those unable to find space at the Ijtema ground sat on their prayer rugs on main road, side roads, and alleys. Many Muslims were seen using newspaper and jute bags instead of prayer rugs.
Meanwhile, vehicular movement on Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway was temporarily suspended due to the massive Jummah jamaat.
Advocate Sheikh Md Abdullah, minister of Religious Affairs; Jahid Ahsan Rasel, state minister for Youth and Sports; Advocate Jahangir Alam, mayor of Gazipur City Corporation; YM Belal-Ur Rahman, Commissioner of Gazipur Metropolitan Police; and Dr Dewan Md Humayun Kabir, deputy commissioner of Gazipur—among other senior government officials—joined the Jummah prayer jamaat.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police (GMP) Commissioner YM Belalur Rahman said: “Police and RAB jointly set up watchtowers on the Ijtema ground. The whole area is under CCTV surveillance which is being operated from makeshift control rooms.”
“Members of law enforcement are divided in groups to monitor the state of law and order during Ijtema. Moreover, an extensive number of plainclothes policemen are also observing the situation in the crowd,” he said.
Special measures have been taken to ensure hassle-free vehicular movement on Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, added the GMP commissioner.
The first phase of the Ijtema began with Aam Bayan (general sermons) by noted scholars after Fazr prayers on Friday; and will end with Akheri Munajat (final prayers) on February 16.
The second phase of the Ijtema will commence on February 17, at the same venue, and it is scheduled to end with Akheri Munajat on February 18.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on Thursday, issued a message greeting Muslim devotees all over the world on the occasion of the Bishwa Ijtema and wished all success for the four-day congregation.
Gas, electricity, and water connections have been provided to the Ijtema ground. Medical services and medicine, free of cost, are being delivered on the Ijtema ground.
Tabligh Jamaat has been organizing the Ijtema at this venue since 1967.
However, the Ijtema has been held in two phases, since 2011, to ease accommodation problems.
Additionally, security measures have been increased to hold the four-day Bishwa Ijtema in a peaceful manner.
Five control rooms—including Gazipur City Corporation, the district administration, police, RAB and Ansar, and VDP—have been set up to monitor the overall activities of the Tongi Ijtema.
According to sources, 15 police watchtowers and 10 RAB watchtowers have been erected to ensure overall security of the devotees.
Special measures have also been taken to ensure uninterrupted electricity and water supply during the Ijtema.
Bangladesh Railway has launched four-day special train services to several destinations for the devotees participating in the congregation.