Thursday, May 26

Thousands join Ijtema amid blockade



Thousands of devotees have thronged the bank of Turag in Tongi of Gazipur as the second phase of Biswa Ijtema began there this morning defying BNP-led 20-party sponsored indefinite countrywide blockade.

Organised by Tabligh Jamaat, Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after Hajj, started after Fazr prayers with religious sermon by Indian Islamic scholar Maulana Ismail Hossain Batla.

After Maulana Ismail ended at 10:30am, the devotees were discussing the sermon after Juma prayers.

Meanwhile, four people died on Ijtema venue early today, said Adam Ali, who was guarding the bodies.

Of them, Abdul Kuddus, 60, of Laximpur and Abdur Rahman, 65, of Bogra died of heart disease last night while Billal Hossain, 30, around 3:00am due to the same reason, reports our Gazipur correspondent quoting a doctor of Tongi health complex. Another unidentified devotee died at Tongi hospital after he was taken to the hospital for his sudden illness early morning.

Like firth phase of three-day Ijtema that began on January 9, a tight security measure has been teaken by uniformed and plainclothes policemen and members of Rab and intelligence agencies at the Ijtema ground to ensure smooth holding of the congregation.

Tablig Jamaat has been organising the event since 1946. The Ijtema features sermons on fundamental issues of Tablig and prayers for spiritual adulation, exaltation and welfare of the Muslim community.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia called the countrywide indefinite blockade from January 6 (Tuesday) as the government did not allow her party and allies to hold protest rally on January 5 in the capital.