Devotees are heading towards Ijtema ground on the bank of Turag yesterday. The congregation will conclude today with the final supplication--Akheri Munajat. Photo: Anisur Rahman
Biswa Ijtema, the largest congregation of Muslims next to hajj, passed its second day yesterday with Islamic scholars from different countries delivering sermons on various aspects of Islam throughout the day.
Several lakh devotees from home and more than 70 countries have gathered at the venue of the three-day Ijtema that ends today, organisers said.
Akheri Munajat (concluding prayers) will mark the end of the congregation held each year on the bank of the Turag river in Tongi.
Moulana Jobayerul Hasan of India is scheduled to lead the Munajat that begins in between 12:00 noon and 12:30 pm.
Meanwhile, five devotees died from Friday midnight till yesterday noon, said Tongi police.
They were identified as Haji Makbul, 65, and M Shamsuddin, 60, of Mymensingh, M Raziuddin Akanda, 62, of Barisal, M Sahar Ali Mollah, 70, of Rajshahi and Nurul Islam, 65, of Cox's Bazar.
The Tablig-e-Jamaat has been organising the Ijtema since 1976. It mainly concentrates on prayers and meditation seeking blessing from Allah.
President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia, ministers and political leaders are expected to join the Akheri Munajat. Separate platforms have been built for them.
Hasina might take part in the prayers from atop Bata Shoe Company building at Tongi and Khaleda from atop Atlas Bangladesh Ltd building.
Special security measures have been taken for them.
Besides devotees at the Ijtema venue, scores of thousands more will join the prayers from rooftops, open fields and roads around it virtually turning a vast area into a human sea.
Meanwhile, a dowry-free mass wedding programme was held yesterday at the Ijtema venue as in the previous years. A total of 108 couples got married there in presence of their guardians and relatives.
Later, guardians of the couples distributed date among those present at the programme.
Over 20,000 foreign devotees from over 70 countries taking part in the congregation are staying in a camp set up for them on the northern end of the Ijtema ground, said organisers.
A rush of devotees was seen at free medical camps in the Ijtema area yesterday.
The Ijtema is being held under tight security. Around 18,000 security personnel from different agencies and several hundred plainclothes law enforcers have been deployed in the area.
Law enforcers rounded up 37 pickpockets from Friday morning to yesterday noon. They were also patrolling the Turag banks so that devotees do not use the polluted river water.