Bangladesh on Sunday decided to inaugurate the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary celebration programmes on a small scale on March 17 to avoid public gatherings.
The Bangladesh government made the decision few hours after it announced the first coronavirus cases.
A meeting, with prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her Ganobhaban residence, decided not to hold the planned grand inauguration ceremony of the yearlong birth centenary programmes at the schedule venue on the National Parade Ground at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told New Age on Sunday evening.
‘After the announcement of the first coronavirus cases in the country, the prime minister called us at her residence in the evening and took our opinion regarding the scheduled inauguration ceremony on the parade ground in presence of thousands of audiences,’ he said.
‘Considering the public health concern, both the prime minister and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana instructed us to hold the inauguration ceremony with limited participation of the audiences at Bangabandhu’s Dhanmondi 32 residence and at his graveyard at Tungipara,’ Momen said.
‘We will connect the people of the country with the celebrations through live television broadcast and using various other online platforms on the day,’ he added.
The foreign minister said that he would review the scheduled participations of the invited foreign dignitaries of the inauguration ceremony as the people across the globe were avoiding public gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic across the world.
The convenor of the national committee for Mujib’s birth centenary celebrations, Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, at a briefing at the International Mother Language Institute on Sunday evening said that the scheduled programme at the National Parade Ground would be held at a suitable time with the participation of the foreign dignitaries.
‘Since the yearlong celebration programme will continue till March 26, 2021, we will fix a suitable schedule during the period,’ he said.
He said various other scheduled programmes would continue.
Kamal, however, refused to answer whether the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi would join the limited scale programme or not.
The National Committee would meet this evening to finalise the rearrangement of the programmes, he said.
The Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research on Sunday morning announced the detection of three people infected with coronavirus in the country.
Sheikh Hasina earlier at World Women’s Day celebrations programme at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium asked people to follow the directives of the health ministry over coronavirus.
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