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Modi to wish Bangladesh via video on ‘Mujib Barsha’ celebrations after COVID-19 cancels trip

PM Narendra Modi was to officially roll out the year-long birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh founder Sheikha Mujibur Rahman.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will convey his greetings to Bangladesh on the occasion of ‘Mujib Barsha’ — the birth centenary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — via a video link, in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

A year-long programme to celebrate the birth centenary of Bangladesh founder Rahman, who is also referred to as “Bangabandhu” or father of the Bengali nation, was launched Tuesday.

It was earlier decided that the celebrations will be officially rolled out by PM Modi. But his visit was cancelled after Dhaka withdrew invitations to all world leaders who were supposed to attend the event over fears of spread of the virus.

“Tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on his birth anniversary. He is remembered for his courage and indelible contribution to Bangladesh’s progress. This evening, via video link, will address Bangabandhu’s 100th Birth Anniversary celebrations being held in Bangladesh,” the PM tweeted Tuesday.

Modi’s message will be played out at a programme organised by the Bangladesh government called ‘Jatir Pita’.

Some other dignitaries who were expected to attend the celebrations were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, among others. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was also invited to attend the celebrations at a later date.

India-Bangladesh relations 

Even though the prime minister was scheduled to visit Bangladesh for only a day, his “agenda was packed”, said official sources.

The centenary celebrations was an opportunity for India to “smoothen the rough patch” that crept in between the two nations over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Prior to Modi’s scheduled visit, Bangladesh had witnessed large-scale protests over the CAA-NRC issue as well as the communal riots in Delhi last month.

Some high-level visits from Bangladesh were also cancelled when protests against and controversy surrounding the CAA and NRC was at their peak. Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had cancelled their visits to India in December, even though the CAA was notified in January.

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had visited Bangladesh where he sought to allay the fears over CAA and NRC.

Shringla, who was also India’s former high commissioner to Dhaka, was the first high- level Indian official to visit Bangladesh after India introduced the NRC. He had also called on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Momen as well as held talks with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen.

During a speech at a public event there, Shringla had said the process of updating the NRC is “entirely internal to India”.

“Therefore there will be no implications for the government and people of Bangladesh. You have our assurance on that count,” he added.

Also read: OIC asks Modi govt to ‘ensure safety of Muslim minority’, months after plenary invite


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  1. No implications means no deportations. That knocks the bottom out of the entire pan Indian NRC exercise. The effort now should be to rebuild India’s standing with the ordinary people of Bangladesh.

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