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Second largest Muslim religious meet underway in Bangladesh

Over two million devotees from home and abroad on Friday thronged the Bishwa Ijtema which got underway near Dhaka.

world Updated: Jan 22, 2010 16:45 IST

Over two million devotees from home and abroad on Friday thronged the Bishwa Ijtema which got underway near Dhaka. It is the second largest congregation of Muslims after the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

The congregation is being held amidst a tight security cordon with more than 18,000 policemen and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) deployed on the banks of Turag at suburban Tongi.

Organisers said so far around 10,000 devotees from different countries arrived while many are on their way to join the three-day congregation while they expect the highest number of participation on the concluding day on Sunday when the meet would end with Akheri Munajat or concluding prayers.

Immigration officials said some 4,000 devotees from different countries entered Bangladesh alone through Benapoleland landport with India in the past seven days to join the Ijtema.

Bangladesh has been hosting the congregation organised by New Delhi-based Tablig Jamaat since early 1960s while organisers said they expected this year more than two million Muslims from across the country and world to join the meet at the Ijtema ground, a five-square kilometre area on the Turag.

President Zilur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued statements wishing success of the congregation while different government agencies including the army and the railway and health department extended their hands to facilitate the event.