Over 5 million gather near Dhaka for Muslim prayer meet (Lead)

January 30th, 2009 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 30 (IANS) Over five million people, including Indians, converged near here to attend the annual three-day Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after Haj that begins Friday.Organisers said people from the US, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives and Saudi Arabia have reached the venue on the bank of the river Turag at Tongi, 20 km from here.

New Age newspaper said there is heightened security as part of the preparation with the government deploying 12,000 policemen and personnel of other agencies.

Thousands of people from across Bangladesh have also reached the place to attend the congregation.

There are 17 entrances to the ground with a huge canopy built over 165 acres. The main dais has been set up from where scholars from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia would deliver sermons.

Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the opposition in parliament Begum Khaleda Zia are likely to join the final prayer.

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