Security has been boosted ahead of Bishwa Ijtema that is slated to begin on Friday
RAB Director General (DG) Benazir Ahmed has issued a warning to any party that attempts to sow chaos during the 54th Bishwa Ijtema, slated to be held from February 15-18.
"Not even senior Tabligh Jamaat leaders will be allowed to disrupt the peaceful environment of Ijtema," he said at a press conference held on the Ijtema grounds in Tongi, on Thursday. "We will not tolerate any group or individual engaging in chaotic activities."
He furthered: "This year, the two feuding factions of Tabligh Jamaat met with ministry officials and reached consensus to jointly-hold the Ijtema in a single phase; which has presented a different kind of security challenge for us."
The RAB DG said the single-phase Ijtema has increased security risks this time around. "Every Ijtema poses a security challenge to law enforcement; this year the risk is higher as there will be no gaps between the times that Ijtema is held."
The security measures surrounding Ijtema have been undertaken with the single-phase Ijtema in mind, Benazir said. "We have held several meetings in regard to this. All Tabligh Jamaat factions must adhere to the 10 conditions that have been set to ensure the Ijtema is held in a peaceful and orderly manner."
On Friday, February 15, followers of the Imam (Pesh Imam) of Kakrail Jame Mosque Mawlana Md Jubaeron will participate in Bishwa Ijtema, right after the Fajr prayers; and they will conduct their Akheri Munajat on Saturday around noon, on February 16, peacefully leaving the Ijtema field for the followers of their opposing faction.
Following this, on Sunday, February 17—right after the Fajr prayers—Maulana Saad Ahmad (Wasiful Islam) and his followers will take part in the Bishwa Ijtema and conduct their Akheri Munajat on Monday, February 18.
"The entire Ijtema ground, including each Khitta (part), will be under CCTV surveillance," the RAB DG stated. "Where foreign guests are lodging, there will be additional security arrangements. RAB members in plainclothes will be positioned in front of every Khitta."
Benazir cautioned the thousands of devotees thronging to the Ijtema grounds to ignore anyone instigating rumours that might circulate on any kind of media; especially social media.
"Even if an untoward situation occurs, I request everyone to keep calm, as we will be there to handle the situation," he said. "We will also stay in regular contact with senior Tabligh leaders to keep ourselves updated."
The RAB DG requested the Tabligh leaders to refrain from sharing any information on social media without proper verification.
"Third parties might take advantage and try to create dissent among the Tabligh Jamaat factions," Benazir said. "We advise everyone—from the leaders to the devotees—to stay alert. Law enforcement is also on alert."
As part of the security arrangements, a large number of RAB members will be deployed to the Ijtema grounds, as well as law enforcement in plainclothes, the RAB DG said. Reserve forces will be on standby to tackle any situation that might go out of control.
Alongside CCTV, helicopters, motorcycles, and patrol boats will be deployed. Drones will be coordinated by the Civil Aviation. Metal detectors will be placed at check-posts. Health camps will be erected and vehicles for emergency purposes will be available.