Dhaka to deploy 22,000 troops for Islamic fest
The Biswa Ijtema, or World Muslim Congregation, is the Islamic world's second largest event after the Hajj pilgrimage and begins Friday.india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 16:08 IST
Bangladesh will deploy more than 22,000 troops to ensure security for a major Muslim festival on heightened concern following a wave of bombings by Islamic extremists, officials said on Wednesday.
The three-day Biswa Ijtema, or World Muslim Congregation, is the Islamic world's second largest event after the Hajj pilgrimage and begins Friday at Tongi near the capital Dhaka.
"We will deploy over 22,000 troops at the Biswa Ijtema this year. The deployment is to ensure safety of the pilgrims. Over two million are expected to attend," said Anwarul Iqbal, additional inspector general of Bangladesh police, told the agency.
Iqbal said security posts would be set up to check all vehicles arriving at the site, and helicopters would be on stand-by. More than 70 security cameras had also been installed.
Bangladesh has been on high alert since last August following a wave of blasts and suicide attacks linked to a banned Islamic group, Jamayetul Mujahidden, Bangladesh (JMB), which wants Islamic law to be established in the Muslim-majority country.
At least 28 people including four suicide bombers have been killed in the attacks.
The Biswa Ijtema is organised by Tablig Jamaat, a group launched four decades ago in New Delhi to encourage Muslims to follow Islamic tenets in their daily lives.
Secular Bangladesh, a nation of 140 million people, is the world's third largest Muslim-majority country.