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Modi's Dhaka Visit Under Cloud as B'desh Postpones Event Honouring Founder After 3 Coronavirus Cases

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited to attend the centenary celebrations of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by his counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

New Delhi: Bangladesh has postponed the centenary celebration of its founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to attend on March 17. This has been done due to the recent coronavirus cases that were confirmed in the country.

Modi had been invited to attend the event by his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

The Prime Minister was supposed to visit Bangladesh for Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year) celebrations and to participate in bilateral talks with Hasina. The Ministry of External Affairs will now take a call on whether the entire visit will be called off, as the talks can still take place. A decision regarding this will be made and officially announced later in the day.

Three positive coronavirus cases were announced in Bangladesh on Sunday by a senior health official. The affected people, two men and one women, were aged between 20 and 35. Two of them had recently returned from Italy while the third is a relative of one of the returnees, said Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director of Bangladesh's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

Prime Minister Modi was expected to allay Bangladesh's concerns over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC during the visit, sources in New Delhi had said.

Bangladesh has been unhappy after the implementation of NRC in Assam. India, on the other hand, has repeatedly attempted to assuage the country; emphasising that the matter is an internal one.

Earlier, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Home Minister Khan had cancelled their visits to India in December over the situation, following the passage of the citizenship bill by Parliament.

Thirty nine positive coronavirus cases have also been confirmed in India; the latest being five members of the same family in the Pathanamthitta District of Kerala. Among these, a couple and their child had recent travel history to Italy and later infected two members of their family.
first published:March 09, 2020, 08:47 IST