Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent letters to the foreign leaders in this regard, says foreign minister
Dhaka has intimated foreign dignitaries, who are scheduled to join the opening events of the Mujib Year celebrations, about the revised plan for its inauguration in view of the few coronavirus cases in the country, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent letters to the heads of states and governments (who were invited to join the celebration) informing them of the re-arrangement plan," he said.
The foreign minister was talking to newsmen after holding a meeting of the sub-committee on “intentional activities and communication” for the celebration of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka, reports BSS.
The foreign minister said they are discouraging other foreign guests to visit Bangladesh in the current situation.
The minister, however, hoped the invited foreign dignitaries would join the celebrations at anytime of the Mujib Year from March 2020 to March 2021.
The invited foreign dignitaries, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were expected to join the inauguration of the celebrations. Dhaka had also invited former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee and Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to address an extra-ordinary parliament session to mark the Mujib Year.
Meanwhile, the Indian external affairs ministry has confirmed that Modi’s visit was deferred after Bangladesh informed them about the current situation.
Momen said the year-long Mujib Year celebrations starting on March 17 was scaled down at the Prime Minister's directive.
The premier called a meeting of the Mujib Year Celebration Committee to review the situation, hours after authorities announced the first three cases of coronavirus in the country on Sunday.
The foreign minister said the special parliament session on March 22-23, and a special program on March 27, which were scheduled to be attended by foreign officials, were also deferred.
Noting that 77 Bangladesh missions abroad had chalked out a plan to organize 261 programs to celebrate the Mujib Year across the world, the foreign minister said some countries have already issued an advisory not to hold any public gatherings due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Momen said all the Bangladesh missions will set up a Mujib corner on their respective premises marking the birth centenary of Father of the nation.
Referring to many international events involving mass gathering, that were being cancelled or deferred due to the global outbreak of coronavirus, Momen said in that light, Bangladesh also has an obligation to rearrange the Mujib year celebrations.