Thousands of devotees from home and abroad – including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Syria, Chad, Tajikistan Turkey, Afghanistan, Palestine, the UK, and the US – thronged the bank of Turag to listen to scholars reciting and explaining verses from the Holy Quran and to renew their commitment to Islamic values.

In the afternoon, the country’s largest Jumah prayers, led by Maulana Hafez Zobair Ahmad, leader of a faction of Tabligh Jamaat, will be held at Ijtema ground.

Gazipur Metropolitan Police commissioner Mollah Nazrul Islam said 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, he added.

Also, the government set up health camps for the devotees to provide them with treatment like the previous years.

Meanwhile, another devotee died today at the Ijtema venue due to complications of old age. On Thursday, two devotees died of cold-related disease at the venue.

The first phase of Ijtema will end Sunday with Akheri Munajat (final prayers). Tabligh Jamaat has been organising the congregation at the venue since 1967.

In 2011, it divided Ijtema into two phases to accommodate a large number of attendees.

The second phase of Ijtema will be held from 20 to 22 January.