Saturday, June 22, 2024

First phase Ijtema ends with Akheri Munajat

The first phase of Biswa Ijtema at Tongi near the capital ended yesterday afternoon with the offering of Akheri Munajat (concluding prayers) seeking divine blessings for the people of Bangladesh and the Muslim Ummah. The Ijtema venue on the banks of the Turag river and its adjoining areas reverberated with the word ”Amin” repeatedly uttered by lakhs of devotees from home and abroad raising their hands together in prayer.
Renowned Islamic scholar Moulana Jubayerul Hasan from India conducted the akheri munajat that began at 12:35 pm and ended at 12:54 pm.
The massive gathering of lakhs of devotees further swelled yesterday with thousands more from the capital and some 32 districts of the country rushing to Tongi in buses, trucks, trains and other vehicles to join the concluding prayers of the congregation. Many others walked for miles to take part in the prayers.
This is for the second consecutive year the Ijtema is being held in two phases, each for three days. The second phase will begin on January 20.
President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition in parliament Khaleda Zia, ministers and political leaders joined the prayers.
The huge crowd spilled over to the roads and areas adjoining the Ijtema venue yesterday as the munajat began.
A large number of women devotees from different parts of the country also took part in the prayers
Thousands of people joined the munajat by raising their hands from the rooftops and terraces of nearby houses, roads and open fields. Many of them called their acquaintances at the venue on cell phones to hear the prayers.
Vehicular movement towards the venue was stopped early this morning. Many devotees walked around 10 to 15 km to reach the area. Others stopped on the adjoining Dhaka-Mymensingh, Tongi- Kaliganj and Abdullahpur-Ashulia roads and joined the munajat from there.
Security was tightened at the venue. Helicopters, speedboats, and pickup vans were pressed into service in the area to avoid any untoward incidents. Around 12,000 security personnel were deployed for security.
Fire service vehicles and ambulances were on hand for any emergencies.
Alea Begum, 45, came to Tongi from Comilla at 7:00 am yesterday with her sister as she could not join the congregation earlier.
Others who arrived late Sunday rented nearby shops and houses to spend the night.
“We six came from Khilgaon late Saturday and stayed in a shop near Abdullahpur road near the Ijtema venue. We paid Tk 60 per head for one night,” 45-year old Fatema Begum told this correspondent.
FREE FOODS
After the prayers, devotees started leaving the Ijtema venue. They had to walk as there were no vehicles within about km around the venue. Rickshaws and rickshaw vans were however available.
Some social organisations distributed dry food, water and cold drinks among the devotees returning home.20
11 DIE IN THREE DAYS
At least 11 people died of cardiac arrest and old age complications during the three-day congregation.
Of them, one died on Saturday night and one early yesterday.
They were identified as Keramat Ali, 75, of Gazipur and Abdul Aziz of Jhalkathi.
Identity of the others could not be known.

-With The Daily Star input

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