Narendra Modi not to attend birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh’s founder

Bangladesh decided to postpone the ceremony hours after three coronavirus cases were detected in the country

Bangladesh, Narendra Modi, Mujib year ceremony, birth centenary celebrations, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina, CAA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi won't be attending the ceremony due to the rise in infections by coronavirus across the globe. File photo: PTI

Sources in New Delhi said on Monday (March 9) that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be attending the grand inaugural ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 17.

Bangladesh decided to postpone the ceremony hours after three coronavirus cases were detected in the country.

The year-long celebrations were scheduled to open amid massive festivities at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka on March 17 and were expected to be attended by several foreign dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The planned celebrations for the Mujib Year have been rearranged in view of a worldwide outbreak of coronavirus,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters on Sunday (March 8).


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“We will convey about the rearrangement of the planned opening of the celebrations to the foreign dignitaries, leaving it to them if they would come,” he said.

Modi’s decision to attend the celebration was considered an outreach move amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Bangladesh. People from several cities in Bangladesh have been protesting against the CAA.

Modi’s visit was also meant to have had a bilateral component, including a meeting with Hasina.

Bangladesh had also invited former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to address an extraordinary parliamentary session to mark the celebrations.

Prime Minister Sheikh directed the organisers to scale down the planned festivities, but the new venue for the inauguration of the celebrations is yet to be decided, chief coordinator of the celebration committee Kamal Abdul Naser told reporters.

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“There will be an opening function avoiding the mass gathering,” Naser said referring to the premiers directive at the meeting at her official Ganobhaban residence.

He said the foreign dignitaries, including the heads of state who were scheduled to attend the opening, were now expected to join the Mujib Year celebrations at a convenient time during the year-long celebrations.

Bangladesh on Sunday reported three cases of coronavirus. Two persons brought the disease from Italy, infecting the third one on their return home, officials said.

The infections, the first reported cases in the country, have come four days after Dhaka restricted entry of the people from major coronavirus-prone countries without a virus-free medical certificate.

(With inputs from agencies)