Dhaka, Mar 10: Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Dhaka has conveyed foreign dignitaries, who are scheduled to join the opening of the Mujib Year celebrations, about the revised plan for its inauguration in view of the coronavirus detection in the country, reports BSS.“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent letters to the heads of state and government (who were invited to join the celebration) informing the rearrangement plan of Mujib Year celebration,” he said.
The foreign minister was talking to newsmen after heading a meeting of sub-committee on “intentional activities and communication” for celebration of birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Mother Language Institute in the capital.
In her letter, Momen said, the prime minister said Bangladesh would like to hold the mega event of the yearlong celebrating of Mujib Year later on, so the foreign dignitaries can take their decision about their scheduled visit.
The foreign minister said they are discouraging other foreign guests to visit Bangladesh in the current situation.
The minister, however, expected the invited foreign dignitaries to join the celebrations 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 while 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, Indian external affairs ministry has confirmed that Modi’s visit was deferred after Bangladesh informed about the current situation.
Momen said the festivity of the planned grand opening of the yearlong Mujib Year on March 17 was scaled down at Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directive as she said, “We should not do anything that can harm common people”.
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 programme on March 27, which were scheduled to be attended by foreign dignitaries, were also deferred.
Noting that 77 Bangladesh missions abroad had chalked a plan to organize 261 programme to celebrate the Mujib Year across the world, the foreign minister said some countries have already issued advisory not to hold any public gathering due to outbreak of the deadly virus.
“We directed our all missions to rearrange the Mujib Year celebration programme following rules of those countries,” he said, adding that the planned celebration programme will be unchanged in the countries not affected by the coronavirus.
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. “We are providing portraits, books, posters and videos of Bangabandhu to all the missions for the corners,” he said.
Referring that many international events that involved mass gathering are being cancelled or deferred due to global outbreak of coronavirus, Momen said in that point of view, Bangladesh also has an obligation to rearrange the Mujib year celebration.
“Nothing is cancelled, Mujib Year celebration will be organized without holding any mass gathering”, the foreign minister said.