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Biswa Ijtema from Jan 9

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Staff Reporter Authorities will take tight security measures for the upcoming two-phase Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims after the holy Hajj, said State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday. This year, the first phase of the Biswa Ijtema will begin on January 9 on the bank of the Turag River at Tongi on the outskirts of the capital, while the second phase on January 18, said the junior minister while talking to reporters after a meeting on preparations the Ijtema. A larger number of troops from various law-enforcement agencies will be deployed at Tongi to ensure foolproof security of the devotees at the Ijtema, Asaduzzaman said. He said several watch towers will be installed at the entrances of the Ijtema ground. Besides, a good number of close circuit cameras and a control room will be set up for providing health services to the devotees. Besides, necessary steps will be taken for ensuring the smooth movement of traffic and easing traffic jams, he said. The meeting also decided not to allow Ijtema participants from five West African countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Mali and Guinea -- as a precautionary step to prevent the spread of Ebola, he said. Asaduzzaman also said scanners will be installed at Shahjalal Airport to keep away any possible Ebola patient. The foreign participants will get one-month visa for attending the Biswa Ijtema but if they want to go for chilla (to go for a 40-day jamaat somewhere) can have their visas extended for another 45 days, the state minister said. He also said three separate sub-committees have been formed to hold Biswa Ijtema successfully and the committees will take necessary steps in this regard after holding a meeting.