Many foreign dignitaries for now have decided not to attend the March 17 event
With the coronavirus spreading in Bangladesh and considering the outbreak across the world, the authorities concerned have decided to rearrange the programs, starting this month, set to celebrate Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary.
The grand inaugural ceremony of the “Mujib Borsho,” or Mujib Year, which was scheduled to be held at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka on March 17 — and kickoff the year-long celebrations — will now be held at a later date, according to Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury.
Kamal, chief coordinator of the national committee to implement Mujib Year celebrations, told a press briefing on Sunday night that all other programs will be organized avoiding massive public gatherings.
Citing the issue of public health, the decision to postpone the grand March 17 opening ceremony was taken at a meeting of the committee at Ganabhaban in the evening, which was attended by ruling Awami League chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana — the daughters of Bangabandhu.
Kamal held the press briefing at the International Mother Language Institute after the meeting.
The announcement came hours after the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed that three people in Bangladesh have tested positive for Covid-19, a new strain of coronavirus that has so far killed over 3,600 people worldwide.
Until Sunday, more than 107,000 coronavirus cases were recorded across 105 countries and territories around the world.
A number of heads of government of different countries, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were invited to join the March 17 ceremony.
But, under the circumstances here and abroad, Kamal said many foreign dignitaries for now have decided not to attend the event.
He, however, said they will be invited again when a fresh schedule is finalized.
Other programs will continue throughout the year on a small scale, he added.
On March 17, programs at Dhanmondi 32 and Tungipara of Gopalganj will be held avoiding massive public gatherings, Kamal said.
Meanwhile, talking to Dhaka Tribune, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said it was also decided, following the prime minister’s recommendation, that the Mujib Year inauguration ceremony will be held at a different venue and on a small scale.
But the new venue is yet to be fixed, he said.
Officials concerned said the new schedule and venue for the March 17 event will be announced soon.
Last year, the Awami League-led government declared the period from March 17, 2020, to March 26, 2021, as Mujib Year and chalked out year-long programs to mark and celebrate Bangabandhu’s birth centenary.