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3 devotees die at Ijtema ground

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A Correspondent
Gazipur: The first phase of Biswa Ijtema entered the second day today (Saturday) at Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka.
The three-day Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after the hajj, began after Fazr prayers on Friday.
Meanwhile, three devotees, including a Malaysian citizen, have died at the Ijtema ground in three days due to old-age complications and illness.
The Malaysian devotee, Nurhan Bin Abdur Rahman, hailing from Malaysia, fell sick on completion of his ablution for players at night and later died on the way to hospital, said another devotee Giyas Uddian.
Besides, Rafiqul Islam, 50, son of Shamsul Haque, hailing from Laxmipur district, died early in the morning as he suffered a heart attack at the Ijtema ground.
The namaz-e-janaza of the two devotees was held after Fazr prayers.
Thousands of devotees, both from home and abroad, have gathered at the congregation venue, and are taking part in prayers and discussions.
Some 4,473 devotees from 88 countries joined the first phase of the Ijtema. Among them, 58 devotees of America, Malaysia and Indonesia went back to their their respective countries.
Ibrahin Refa, an Islamic scholar of Kuwait, conducted today's 'a'm bayan' (general sermon) which was translated into Bangla by Maulana Nurur Rahman.
Many of them offered prayers on roads and footpaths having failed to manage places at the Ijtema venue, disrupting traffic on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway.
The first phase of the Ijtema will end tomorrow (Sunday) with the Akheri Munajat (concluding prayers).
Maulana Md Zubayer, the Imam of Kakrail Mosque here, will conduct the Akheri Munajat, said the Ijtema organizers.
Meanwhile, two devotees, including a Malaysian citizen, have so far died at the Ijtema ground on Thursday and Friday due to old-age complications and illness.
The second phase of Ijtema will be held from January 19 to 21.
Tabligh Jamaat has been organizing the Ijtema at the venue since 1967. But, the Ijtema is held in two phases since 2011 to ease the accommodation problem.