DHAKA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have begun arriving on the banks of the Turag River on the outskirts of Bangladesh capital Dhaka for the first phase of the second largest annual Muslim congregation called "Biswa Ijtema" after holy Hajj.
The three-day congregation will begin at Tongi Friday morning with religious sermons for millions of devotees from home and abroad.
The grand prayer at the congregation at Tongi will be held on Sunday, seeking divine blessings and welfare of all mankind.
The second phase of the Biswa Ijtema, which is being held in two phases since 2011 to avoid rush of pilgrims, will begin on the same venue on Jan. 17 and it will conclude with the offering of Akheri Munajat (concluding prayer) on Jan. 19.
Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that stringent security measures have been taken ahead of the Bishwa Ijtema.
Control rooms, watch towers and close circuit camera have been installed to avert any untoward incidents there to oversee people's movement.
To ensure safety and security of the devotees and maintain law and order, thousands of different law-enforcing agencies have been deployed in and around the 60-hectare Ijtema ground, the main venue of the congregation.
Alongside CCTV, Bangladesh's anticrime elite force Rapid Action Battalion Director General (DG) Benazir Ahmed said, helicopters, drones and patrol boats will be deployed to ensure full-proof security.
Organizers say standby airport transport service has been arranged for tens of thousands of devotees expected from at least 27 countries and regions.