Bishwa Ijtema begins today

January 30, 2009

Our Correspondent
The annual three-day Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after Hajj, begins today on the bank of the River Turag at Tongi, 20 kilometres off the capital, amid heightened security.
Hundreds of people from across the country have already reached the place and many others are on their way to attend the congregation.
Preparations have all been made for the holding of the gathering of the Muslims. Besides the law enforcement agencies and local administration, various local organisations and agencies have taken up programmes for a successful holding of the congregation.
The Gazipur district administration, the police and the Rapid Action Battalion have set up control rooms. Forty-eight closed-circuit television cameras have been set up at different points.
The police said at least 12,000 law enforcement personnel, led by eight superintendents of police, had been deployed at the Ijtema ground. The lawmen deployed include 800 Rapid Action Battalion personnel. Seventeen entrances to the ground have been equipped with metal detectors.
The battalion also set up nine observation towers. It will patrol the area by boat and by two helicopters round-the-clock Mobile courts will be run to keep law and order and to monitor the hotels and restaurants. The Tongi municipality arranged supply water.
A canopy has been put up over an area of 165 acres. Separate tents have been set up on the north-west of the venue for foreigners. Organisers said people from the United States, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives and Saudi Arabia had reached the venue.
According to the organisers, preliminary activities of the congregation had started after the fajr prayers on Thursday although it would formally begin this morning.
The ground has been divided into 32 blocks; there were 26 blocks last time. The main dais has been set up in the west of the ground from where scholars from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia would deliver sermons.
Organizers expect about 50 lakh people to join the akheri munajat (final prayers).
The president, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in parliament are likely to join the akheri munajat.


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