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Bangladesh postpones 'Mujib Year' grand ceremony after 3 coronavirus cases

Prime Minister Sheikh directed the organisers to scale down the planned festivities

Press Trust of India  |  Dhaka 

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina | Wikimedia Commons
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina | Wikimedia Commons

has decided to postpone the March 17 grand inaugural ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of its founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hours after three cases were detected in the country.

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

However, Modi will now not attend the ceremony, the sources said on Monday in New Delhi.

"The planned celebrations for the Mujib Year have been rearranged in view of worldwide outbreak of coronavirus," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters on Sunday.

"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.

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.

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

"There will be an opening function avoiding the mass gathering," Naser said referring to the premier's 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.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman served as the first President of and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from April 17, 1971 until his assassination on August 15, 1975.

He is considered to be the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh. He is popularly dubbed with the title of "Bangabandhu" (Friend of Bengal) by the people of Bangladesh. His daughter is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh on Sunday reported three cases of 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.

First Published: Mon, March 09 2020. 10:20 IST