[Hazrat ji Saad Kandhelvi being welcomed at Aurangabad Railway Station on Friday February 23, 2018. His car showered with flowers and the huge crowd of people outside the railway station on Saturday. (Photo: Video grab)]
Aurangabad (Maharashtra): Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from different parts of Maharashtra have gathered at Limbe Jalgaon village – some 25 kms from Aurangabad in Marathwada region of the state where 3-day Ijtema of Tablighi Jamaat began after Fajr prayers Saturday.
More than two lakh Muslims had offered afternoon prayers a day before on Friday at the Ijtema site. The Friday prayer was led by Hazrat Ji Saad Kandhelvi who had earlier arrived at the Ijtema site to a rousing welcome. Hazrat Ji Saad Kandhelvi reached the Ijtema site on Friday in a fleet of cars that were showered with flowers and Rose petals.
The Maharashtra level Tablighi Jamaat Ijtema will end on Monday. The Maharashtra government has announced a day’s holiday on Monday for the students and teachers of Urdu medium schools. The ongoing HSC or Class 12 board exam will however be held as per the schedule. “Muslim students should make a note that the HSC exam on Monday will be held as per schedule. Hence they should stay away from the Ijtema and concentrate on their studies”, appeals issued by various groups said.
The Aurangabad Ijtema is underway amid the power struggle between two rival groups of the Tablighi Jamaat, and fatwa issued against the Tablighi Jamaat by Darul Uloom Deoband. It is also reported that the rival group in a show of strength is planning to organize their own Ijtema sometimes in April or May when the exams are over.
Social media is also abuzz with messages criticizing the manner in which Hazrat ji Saad Kandhelvi’s car was showered with flowers. Some messages circulating on the social media are also questioning the “religious sanction” of holding such an Ijtema. Social media users are also slamming those who are making false claims regarding the number of people who have gathered in Aurangabad for the Ijtema.
Earlier the Aurangabad Ijtema was in news because the police department denied the organisers the necessary permission saying they had approached the department late and also because the application was not attached with Non Objection Certificates (NOCs) from Fire Brigade Department, Traffic Police, Public Works Department (PWD), Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) and others. The Ijtema organizers however submitted all the needed documents on February 17. The Police department consequently granted the organisers the permission and also promised all support.
According to the local police, some 5,000 policemen have been deployed from Aurangabad and other districts, which also include three officers of the rank of commissioner and assistant commissioner, 25 police inspectors and 70 sub-inspectors. Four companies of the State reserve Police Force (SRPF), 1,000 traffic police and eight squads of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) have also been called for the Ijtema.
Politics also marred the Aurangabad Ijtema where huge hoardings by Shiv Sena have been put at various places appealing “Muslims who are attending the Ijtema to pray for the party”. Shiv Sena is a right wing Hindu party known for its anti-Muslim stand on various community issues. The latest prayer by appeal by the Shiv Sena is seen as the result of its worsening relation with the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
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