The second phase of the three-day Biswa Ijtema, billed as the second largest congregation of Muslims after Hajj, began on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi Friday.
This phase of the 56th edition of the Biswa Ijtema (World Congregation) started with the "a'm bayan" (general sermons) after Fajr prayers with the participation of a large number of devotees, including the followers of Indian preacher Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi.
However, Maulana Saad is not attending this year's Ijtema. The sermons were delivered by Pakistani Islamic scholar Maulana Mohammad Osman and were translated into Bangla by Maulana Zia bin Qasim.
Thousands of devotees from home and abroad thronged the banks of the Turag River to listen to scholars reciting and explaining verses from the Quran and to renew their commitment to Islamic values.
In the afternoon, they offered Jumma prayers, led by Maulana Saad's son Yusuf bin Saad Kandhalvi, at the Ijtema ground.
"Additional police personnel have been deployed in and around the Ijtema venue to ensure the security of the devotees. The venue has been brought under closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera surveillance," Gazipur Metropolitan Police (GMP) Commissioner Molla Nazrul Islam said.
Health camps were set up for the devotees to provide them with treatment like the previous years.
However, a 75-year-old devotee from Barguna, Mofizul Islam, died at the Ijtema venue early Friday due to complications of old age.
The three-day Biswa Ijtema will end on January 22 with Akheri Munajat (final prayers).
Meanwhile, the metro rail service will run from 8am to 5pm on January 22 for the smooth movement of the devotees attending the second phase of the congregation.
The first phase of the three-day Biswa Ijtema ended on January 15 with Akheri Munajat.
Tabligh Jamaat has been organising the congregation in Tongi since 1967. In 2011, it divided Ijtema into two phases to accommodate a large number of attendees.