Every year more than 3 million Muslims converge at Tongi on the banks of the river Turag, on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, to attend Bishwa Ijtema or World Congregation – an annual Islamic congregation, and the second largest gathering of Muslims in the world after the Haj.
Biswa Ijtema is a spiritual gathering where religious sermons and prayers are preached by Islamic scholars.
Devotees arrive for the three-day event from all over the country, and even abroad, by whatever means possible.
And that includes, mostly, piling on top of already overcrowded trains and loading onto ferries that could tip over at any moment.
During the days leading up to the event, additional trains and buses are pressed into service, but apparently these are not enough to transport 3 million people in a safe way.