GAZIPUR, Jan 20, 2017 (BSS)- The three-day second phase of the 52nd Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslims after hajj, began today on the banks of the Turag River at Tongi on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka amid intensified security vigilance.
Mohammad Zahid Ahsan Russel, lawmaker of Gazipur -2 constituency, told BSS that people of some 17 districts -- Dhaka, Meherpur, Lalmonirhat, Rajbari, Dinajpur, Habiganj, Munshiganj, Kishoreganj, Cox's Bazar, Noakhali, Bagerhat, Chandpur, Pabna, Naogaon, Kushtia, Borguna and Barisal - - are taking part in the second phase of Biswa Ijtema.
Besides devotees of about 100 countries are expected to join the second phase of the Ijtema which will end through 'Akheri Munajat (concluding prayer)' on January 22 (Sunday).
A senior organizer of Tablig Jamaat Gias Uddin said thousands of Muslims including nearly five lakh from different foreign countries attended the Juma prayers at the Ijtema venue and its adjacent areas today.
Earlier, thousands of devotees from 16 districts across Bangladesh took part in the first phase of Biswa Ijtema, which started on January 13 and ended on January 15.
The second phase of the Ijtema formally began through 'Amboyan (maiden sermon)' after Fazr prayers. Senior Islamic scholar of Tablig Jamaat Maulana Shameem of Delhi delivered the first speech in Urdu which was subsequently translated into Bengali by local scholar Maulana Mohammed Noor Rahman.
Meanwhile, a five-tier security arrangement has been made for the event along with deployment of several thousand members of different law enforcement agencies, including RAB and police.
Tablig Jamaat has been organizing the Ijtema at the venue since 1967. Since 2011 the congregation is being held in two phases to ease accommodation problem.
Several health centres have been set up in different parts of the venue along with beds and almost all first aid and other treatment facilities amid doctors doing round-the-clock duty at each centre.
Special measures have also been taken to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply during the three-day Ijtema.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)