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PM Modi's Dhaka trip cancelled over coronavirus scare

Source: ANI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
March 09, 2020 13:16 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled his trip to Bangladesh after three coronavirus cases were detected in the neighbouring country, sources said.

Modi was expected to attend the grand inaugural ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka on March 17.

However, Bangladesh decided to postpone the grand inaugural ceremony in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

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

"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.


Bangladesh 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 Bangladesh 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 Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

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 PTI

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Source: ANI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje