Biswa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after Hajj, begins today on the bank of the Turag at Tongi in Gazipur.
Devotees have already started streaming into the 160-acre Ijtema ground to attend the first phase that is scheduled to end with Akheri Munajat on Sunday, seeking spiritual wellbeing and welfare of the Muslim Ummah.
Breaking the decades-old tradition, this year for the third time the rituals will be performed in two phases -- January 24-26 and January 31- February 2 -- to ensure better management and security.
Organised by Tabligh Jamaat, the three-day congregation will start after Fazr prayers with religious sermons by Islamic scholars and prayers.
Several million devotees in and outside the capital are expected to join Juma prayers today.
Md Nurul Islam, deputy commissioner of Gazipur, said they had taken an all-out security measures and ensured water supply and sanitation facilities.
“The number of toilet and washing facilities has been increased this year. About 4,000 toilets have been set up. We will also provide about 70 lakh gallons of water,” he added.
Sonjit Kumar Roy, additional superintendent of police (south) in Gazipur, said five-layer security system by 10,000 uniformed and plainclothes policemen, and members of Rab and intelligence agencies will be in place at the Ijtema ground to ensure smooth holding of the congregation.
Standby airport transport service has been arranged for around 50,000 devotees expected from 130 countries including China, the USA, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UK.
Civil Surgeon in Gazipur M Shah Alam Sharif said all kinds of leave to doctors and employees under health department in Gazipur have been cancelled from January 22 to 2 February.
Besides, 100 more physicians from 17 districts in Dhaka division have joined to perform duties.
An additional 50 beds have been arranged in Tongi Hospital.
State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan said a good number of troops from different law-enforcement agencies will be deployed at Tongi to ensure the foolproof security of the devotees this year.
Law enforcers will patrol the Ijtema venue round the clock and keep a strong vigil to prevent any unpleasant incident, said Asaduzzaman.