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Tablighi Jamaat's warring factions in Bangladesh indulge in violent clashes, one killed

Clashes ensued after the Fajr prayers, when followers of Zubair Hassan tried to enter the Ijtema venue, occupied by supporters of Saad Kandhalvi

Sunday December 2, 2018 4:42 PM, ummid.com News Network

Tablighi Jamaat Clashes Bangaldesh

[Videos viral on social media showed people running helter-skelter. (Photo: Dhaka Tribune)]

Dhaka: At least one person is killed and more than 200 others are injured when two warring factions of Tablighi Jamaat - one led by Saad Kandhalvi and other by Zubair Hassan, indulged in violent clashes for attempting to control the Ijtema ground on the bank of the Turag river in the Tongi area on the outskirts of the capital.

The clashes ensued after the Fajr prayers, when followers of Zubair Hassan tried to enter the Ijtema venue, occupied by supporters of Saad Kandhalvi since Wednesday, Independent said citing police officials.

A number of cars and motorcylces parked in the nearby residential area were also vandalised. Videos viral on social media showed people running helter-skelter. Videos also showed a larger group of Tabligh-Jamaat men with bamboo sticks and stones entered the venue by breaking open the gate. The place soon turned into a battleground.

Kamal Hossian, officer-in-charge (OC), Tongi East police station, said Ismail Mondol, 65, hailing from Rampal union of Munshiganj, was killed in the clashes. He was a follower of Saad Kandhalvi. Around 130 people were treated for injuries at the Tongi Ahsan Ullah Master Health Complex, said the hospital’s emergency medical officer. Of them, 25 people, who were severely injured, have been transferred to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, Kurmitola Hospital and other hospitals, Independent said.

At one stage, the supporters of Saad Kandhalvi broke open the main gate of the Ijtema grounds and swarmed in. Sporadic clashes took place between the two groups, leaving Ismail dead on the spot and scores of people injured. The Tabligh men hurled brickbats at each other and attacked each other with sticks, according to Dhaka Tribune.

For the last couple of days, Zubair Hassan's supporters had been taking up positions on the Ijtema Maidan in Tongi. The followers of Saad Kandhalvi started gathering in front of the maidan from 06:00 am Saturday and took position in front of the main gate.

“We had announced a ‘Jor Ijtema’ (a gathering of devotees before the Bishwa Ijtema) between November 30 and December 4, as a tradition that is followed annually", a follower of Saad Kandhalvi said.

“However, as thousands of devotees tried to enter the Ijtema grounds, they were denied entry by supporters of Maulana Jubayer. Madrasa students following Zubair Hassan had already positioned themselves inside the venue with sticks", he added.

Since its inception in 1929, the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) had its global headquarters in Basti Nizamuddin in New Delhi, India. It earlier split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance.

However in recent years Saad Khandalvi, grandson of the Tablighi Jamaat founder Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi has claimed sole leadership of the Tablighi Jamaat. This caused severe split in Tablighi Jamaat as the jamaats in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the world including the United States and United Kingdom have refused to accept the leadership claim of Saad Khandalvi.

Meanwhile, police officials of Gazipur Metropolitan police and members of Rapid Action Battalion went to the Ijtema grounds around 3pm and drove out all the people from there.

“The situation is now under control,” said OC Emdadul.

Additional police with armoured vehicles and water cannons have been deployed to avoid any untoward situation. Local administration has taken control of the grounds following a Home Ministry decision later in the day.

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