The first phase of the 57th Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslim community after Hajj, is all set to begin on Friday in Tongi, Gazipur.
All-out security measures have been taken by the government as thousands of devotees have started to gather on the bank of the Turag River to participate in the first phase of the religious congregation to be held from January 10-12.
Thousands of people from both home and abroad will join the Ijtema to seek peace and prosperity of the Muslim ummah and for Bangladesh as well.
The second phase of Bishwa Ijtema will begin from January 17.
On the day of Akheri Munajat on January 12, the movement of all types of transport on different roads will be halted from 4am to 2pm.
The road from Tongi Bridge to Bogura, Tongi station road intersection to Mirer Bazar and Munnu gate to Kamarpara, will be closed during the Akheri Munajat.
Tabligh Jamaat has been organising the congregation at the venue since 1967.
To reduce pressure on the venue and ensure better management, Tabligh in 2011 split the Ijtema into two phases by dividing the participants.
Until Wednesday, four and a half lakh Muslims have gathered on the banks of Turag River. The law enforcers have already started working on security in the area.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Director General Benazir Ahmed told the media on Thursday that Bishwa Ijtema poses security challenges.
"The pilgrims have started coming to the Ijtema from around the world. A significant number of pilgrims from 27 countries are staying there. This is a matter of prestige for Bangladesh, so we have security challenges here," he said.
There will be security deployments in two steps for three days. A three-dimensional security measure will be adopted for this Bishwa Ijtema. The Ijtema Maidan will be divided into two sectors, with car-motorcycle-boat patrol, as well as continuous surveillance by helicopters and drones.
When asked if there could be any disturbance from two factions in the Bishwa Ijtema, Benazir said, "The RAB will also keep an eye on the two factions to avoid any unpleasant situation. We have already spoken to both factions."
The bomb disposal unit, sweeping team and dog squad will be ready at the Ijtema compound. Our force will be ready to deal with any emergency, he added.