Tabligh Jamaat has organized the Ijtema at the same Tongi venue since 1967
Amid tight security, the two phases of the 54th Bishwa Ijtema—the second largest congregation of Muslims, worldwide—has begun on the banks of the Turag River at Tongi, on the outskirts of the capital.
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.
However, all preparations for the Ijtema—including setting up: the pandel, the stage, the floating bridge over the Turag river, and toilets—have been completed.
Gas, electricity, and water connections have been provided to the Ijtema ground.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Md Jahid Ahsan Rasel, along with Tabligh Jamaat’s senior leaders, yesterday, visited the Ijtema ground to assess its overall situation.
The Bishwa Ijtema should be successful, at any cost, as per the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives, he said after visiting the Ijtema compound.
Later, Rasel inaugurated the delivery of medical services and medicine free of cost on the Ijtema ground.
Meanwhile, thousands of devotees, from home and abroad, started to throng to the Ijtema ground, from Wednesday night, to take part in the religious event seeking the divine blessings of the Almighty Allah.
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.
Around 3.54 lakh gallons of fresh water will be supplied every day, through 13 deep tube-wells, and 50 trucks will be engaged, around the clock, in removing garbage from the Ijtema grounds.
A total of 175 gas burner stoves were set up to provide cooking facilities for foreign devotees at the Ijtema compound, and healthcare centres have been set up at different parts of the venue— along with first aid and other treatment facilities—to provide health care services to the devotees.
Bangladesh Railway has launched four-day special train services to several destinations for the devotees participating in the congregation.
As per the special train service schedule, a juma special train service will be operated on February 15 on the Dhaka-Tongi-Dhaka route, said a railway ministry press release.
Two special trains will be operated to Tongi, from Jamalpur and Laksham, on February 17.
A total of four trains—called Monajat Special 1,2,3,4—will operate on the Dhaka-Tongi route on February 16, the day of the first Akheri Monajat.
On the day of second Akheri Monajat, on February 18, eight trains will operate on the Dhaka-Tongi route, eight from Tongi to Dhaka, one from Tongi to Laksham, one from Tongi to Akhaura, four from Tongi to Mymensingh, and two from Tongi to Tangail.
Meanwhile, for the convenience of devotees’ travel, all inter-city, mail express, and local trains heading toward the capital have been directed to halt at the Tongi Station for two minutes starting from February 12 till February 18.
All commuter train services will be suspended during the Bishwa Ijtema.