This year's Biswa Ijtema will be held in February as leaders of two factions of Tabligh Jamaat have reached an understanding over holding the congregation, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said yesterday.
He made the announcement while briefing reporters after a meeting with the leaders of two factions at his secretariat office.
“In today's [yesterday] meeting, it has been decided that the Biswa Ijtema will be held in Tongi in February. The two factions will jointly organise the Ijtema,” reports UNB, quoting the minister as saying.
It will be decided how and when the religious gathering will be held in a meeting at the religious affairs ministry at 10:30am today, he added.
A rift developed among Tabligh members -- well known for humble behaviour and preaching for peace -- over the nomination of Indian Islamic scholar Maulana Saad Kandhalvi as the ameer.
On December 1 last year, an elderly man was killed and over 200 others were injured in a fierce fight between the two factions over the timing of this year's Ijtema in Tongi.
The government postponed the Ijtema after the two factions announced separate schedules for the congregation.
The Ijtema's first phase was scheduled to be held from January 11 to 13 and the second one from January 18 to 20.
Maulana Saad was supposed to administer the Akheri Munajat (concluding prayers) of the last year's Ijtema as he did in the previous past three years. But he had to return home without doing so in the face of stern opposition from a faction of Tabligh Jamaat men, mostly students and teachers of Qawmi madrasas of Bangladesh.
The protesters claimed that Saad made “controversial comments about the Quran and Sunnah” in India.
Responding to a query from a journalist, Asaduzzaman said a decision was made that Maulana Saad would not join the Ijtema this time.
Asked about how many phases of the Ijtema will be held this year, the minister said the issue would also be decided in today's meeting.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah said the Ijtema would be held once in a year. “The clashes which took place across the country are not acceptable at all.”