A series of clashes took place between the two factions of Tabligh Jamaat at different strategic points from Airport Road to Tongi station road on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway leaving one dead and over 100 injured.
The deceased was identified as Ismail Mandol, son of Khalil Mandol hailing from Munshiganj district, confirmed AKM Kawsar Chowdhury, inspector, detective branch (DB) of Gazipur police.
Additional helmeted cops equipped with armoured vehicles and water cannons were also deployed there to bring the situation under control. A tense situation was prevailing in and around the area till filing of this report.
Following the incident, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal held an emergency meeting with the senior members of two factions of Tabligh Jamaat to resolve the crisis on Saturday afternoon. Mohammad Javed Patwary, Inspector General of Police, and other high-ups of police department were also present in the meeting.
Besides, as the followers of the two factions blocking the adjacent busy roads and the highway continued chasing each other, a serious gridlock was created from Mohakhali to Joydevpur and Ashulia crossings. And the gridlock also spread other roads in the city creating a long tailback.
Movement of all modes of vehicles, including ambulances, came to a halt on both the sides of the roads and the highway. Commuters had to wait four to five hours on the airport road for public transport, but finding no other way hundreds of passengers started walking to reach their respective destinations.
Since early morning the followers of Maulana Jubayer Ahmed took position inside the Biswa Ijtema ground while the followers of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi took position at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and Abdullahpur crossings.
According to followers of Jubayer, Saad took the title of Ameer by himself going against the Shariah.
After the Fazr prayers, the followers of Saad Kandhalvi went to Tongi and tried to enter the Biswa Ijtema ground. But they failed as the all gates of the Ijtema venue were locked up.
And this angered Saad Kandhalvi’s followers. Being failed to enter, they sealed off city’s all entry and exit points at Abdullahpur, airport and Ashulia crossings and started chanting slogans.
The clash between the two factions ensued at Uttara sector 10 in the morning spreading different strategic points.
While this correspondent, visiting the trouble-torn area, found at one stage the followers of the two factions locking into serious clashes at many points from airport to Tongi station road turning the whole area into a battle field.
The followers of the two factions swooped on each other with sticks and bricks. Most of the followers received serious head and chest injuries. The injured followers were rushed to Tongi and other nearby hospitals. Condition of many injured devotees was stated critical.
As the followers of Saad Kandhalvi announced that the five-day-long Jor Ijtema would begin from Friday, followers of Maulana Jubayer protested and took position inside the Ijtema ground since Fazr prayer on Saturday.
When contacted, officers-in-charge of Tongi and airport police stations, echoing the same arguments, said additional law enforcers were deployed in and around the area.
“The clashes arose when followers of Saad Kandhalvi were heading from Airport to Tongi where followers of Jubeayer had taken position earlier,” the airport police station officer-in-charge Noor-e-Ajam told Bangladesh Post.
The conflict between the two factions continued from the last session of Biswa Ijtema, Tabligh Jamaat’s annual event and the largest Muslim congregation after the hajj.
In April last year, the groups also locked into a clash over the conflict at Dhaka’s Kakrail Mosque, the headquarters of the religious group’s Bangladesh chapter.
Earlier on November 15, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the Ijtema will not be held as per schedule next year due to the national polls. A new date for the Ijtema will be decided after the election.