Dhaka, like its ethnic cousin Kolkata, is known for street protests and agitations. But even going by its own track records, the large-scale mass demonstrations Bangladesh’s capital witnessed earlier this month were unprecedented.
The Islamists, as well as the secularists, were on the streets, for once, over the same cause — to oppose participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary celebrations in Dhaka on March 17.
Much to the relief of the governments in both the countries, the public event had to be ultimately postponed due to health concerns in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, thus averting possible embarrassment.
The prime minister was supposed to deliver the keynote address at the centennial of Mujibur Rahman, endearingly called Bangabandhu (in Bengali, it literally means "friend of Bengal") in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. He was the leader of the Bengali nationalist movement, which established a sovereign Bangladesh in 1971 after breaking away from Pakistan.
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