After a two-day hiccup over joining it by Indian scholar Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, the first phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after Hajj, is set to begin on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi on Friday.
Thousands of Muslim devotees from 16 districts of the country have already thronged the venue to take part in the religious congregation. Devotees from 135 countries will also participate in the Ijtema, reports UNB.
The opposition to the participation of top Indian scholar of Tabligh Jamaat Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in the Ijtema by Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh had created a crisis over the congregation.
However, the dispute was settled following a government intervention. It was decided at a meeting at the Home Ministry on Thursday that Saad Kandhalvi will not join the Ijtema.
After the meeting with the Sura members of Bangladesh Tabligh Jamaat and five members of ‘Alem Advisory Committee’ at his ministry, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan announced the decision.
“The two feuding groups reached an understanding that Saad Kandhalvi won’t attend the Ijtema. He’ll go back to India at his convenient time. He’ll stay at Kakrail Mosque until his departure,” he said.
A large number of Tabligh Jamaat men put barricade on Airport Road intersection from 12 noon to 4:30 pm on Wednesday protesting the arrival of the Indian Tabligh Jamaat scholar to take part in the Biswa Ijtema following his controversial comments about religious issues, creating huge tailbacks in the area.
The first phase of 53rd Biswa Ijtema will end on Sunday with the Akheri Munajat.
Police have taken a five-tier security measure for the Biswa Ijtema to ensure overall security.
Besides, special measures have been taken to ease the traffic system which will come into effect from the first days of the two phases’ congregation.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Harun-or-Rashid, superintendent of Gazipur police, said around 7,000 police members will remain deployed to ensure security of the Ijtema devotees.
Around 50 CCTVs have been installed to monitor the Ijtema ground and the adjoining areas, he said.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) has made arrangements to operate special trains on different routes of the country to facilitate the movement of Muslim devotees of the Biswa Ijtema.
The second phase of Ijtema will be held from January 19 to 21.