Bhopal: A tented
township is coming up near here for one of the world's largest
Muslim gatherings, the 63rd Aalmi Tablighi Ijtema, with special
arrangements for the stay of an estimated 400 physically
The global congregation by Tablighi Jamaat is to be held Dec 25-27
at Itkhori in Islam Nagar, around 12 km from here. With around
700,000 Muslims expected from across the world.
"Every year we hold the ijtema to spread the message of Islam, do
good deeds and stop people from wrongdoing, know Allah and follow
the path of Prophet Mohammed," Ijtema spokesperson Atique-ul-Islam
"The jamaats (groups) of Russia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia,
Malaysia and Sri Lanka have already arrived, and Muslims from at
least 30 countries, including Australia, England and South Africa,
will take part in it," he said.
And one of its best features is that disabled people, who usually
keep away from huge gatherings, are welcome and even given extra
"Besides separate staying arrangements for the physically
challenged, some people will make them understand religious
sermons with actions," Atique said.
The Aalmi ijtema had begun with India's independence in 1947. And
it continues since then. "It has continued non-stop for the last
63 years," Bhopal-based senior journalist Pervez Bari said.
From 1947 to 2001, the ijtema took place at Taj-ul-Masjid here -
one of the largest mosques in Asia - and thereafter it has been
taking place at the Itkhori grounds.
The entire ijtema takes place on 145 acres of land, which includes
36 acres for marquees, 60 acres of parking space and 10 acres for
tubewells to fulfil the water needs of the huge gathering, apart
from the space for the accommodation of the disabled.
In spite of such a gathering, the management makes it a point to
ensure that it does not become a fair-like affair and does not
allow people to make a noise.
There are guidelines for shopkeepers to sell their items,
specially meals, at a cost strictly prescribed by the management.
The chawal-dal will be available at Rs.15, chawal-sabzi at Rs.20
and roti-meat at Rs.25.
"We have got full support from the government - whoever's
government it is. Many departments of the state or central
government extend their support to us," Atique said.
But security remains a major concern. Right from Chief Minister
Shivraj Singh Chouhan to Superintendent of Police Abhay Singh -
everyone has assured that the programme will not be affected and
will function as it has for more than half a century.
"At least 1,200 policemen will be deployed around the programme
venue to ensure security," Singh said.
Announcing that the event should not lack in anything, Chouhan
went to the extent of saying if needed he could be contacted
personally for help.
At 140 million, India has the third largest Muslim populations in
the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.
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