Khatib leads prayers amid tight security

January 31, 2009

Staff Correspondent

People had to leave their shoes in front of Baitul Mukarram before entering the mosque for Juma prayers as three consecutive Fridays saw devotees fight with shoes over the appointment of a new khatib. Photo: STAR

People had to leave their shoes in front of Baitul Mukarram before entering the mosque for Juma prayers as three consecutive Fridays saw devotees fight with shoes over the appointment of a new khatib. Photo: STAR

Recently appointed khatib of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Principal Salauddin Ahmed, yesterday led the Juma prayers amid tight security with the presence of a huge contingent of law enforcers and intelligence agency members.
Devotees yesterday were barred from entering the mosque with shoes for the first time as authorities imposed ban on entry along with shoes to avert recurrence of hurling shoes that had vitiated the sanctity of the holy mosque. Witnesses said most of the devotees entered the mosque keeping their shoes in shoeboxes outside the mosque.
Apart from this, law enforcers had frisked each of the mosque goers before they made their entry.
However, some of the madrasa students staged demonstrations on the road in front of the mosque demanding the removal of khatib Principal Salauddin Ahmed. But police drove them away from the area.
The new Khatib, Salauddin Ahmed, arrived at the mosque at 12:30pm. He delivered his weekly sermon and then led the Friday Juma prayer.
According to witnesses, several hundred plain-clothed policemen including some in uniform were deployed in and out of the mosque while some others offered their prayers in the mosque in guise of the musallies (devotees).
The previous three consecutive Juma prayers were marred by demonstrations and clashes over the newly appointed Khatib of the mosque leading to separate prayer sessions in and outside the mosque.
Following the incidents, the government authorities directed the law-enforcement agencies to handle the unpleasant row between two groups of devotees with iron hands.

Courtesy: thedailystar.net

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