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Diplomacy

Bangladesh Govt Brushes Aside Calls to Drop Modi From Mujibur Rahman Centenary Event

After some people expressed concern over riots in Delhi, Bangladesh minister Obaidul Quader's said disinviting the Indian PM would be an 'act of ingratitude'.

New Delhi: After several political parties and activists urged the Bangladeshi government to recall the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the birth centenary programme of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said that disinviting the Indian prime minister would be “an act of ingratitude”.

Quader’s remarks came in response to a question from reporters over a call on social media seeking a disinvitation of the Indian leader for the celebration programme over riots in the capital city of New Delhi, according to a report in the Dhaka Tribune.

Terming the ongoing movement over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in India an internal issue, Quader said that it would be ungrateful to refrain from inviting the Indian prime minister. “India helped us most during the Liberation War of Bangladesh and that is why the Indian prime minister has been invited to join the program. Refraining from inviting the Indian prime minister would have been an act of ingratitude,” he said on Thursday.

“The Indian government helped Bangladesh’s freedom fighters by providing training and arms. The blood of Indians got mixed with that of the people of Bangladesh. So, it would have been an act of ungratefulness had the Indian prime minister not been invited to join it.”

The year-long celebrations to commemorate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary will commence on March 17.

Also read: CAA an Internal Matter, But Don’t Understand Why India Did it: Bangladesh PM

Quader’s comments came after, in a joint statement on Thursday, twelve eminent citizens of Bangladesh expressed grave concern over riots in New Delhi over the CAA and urged the Indian government to take prompt action to protect and uphold communal harmony.

The signatories of the statement expressed fear that India’s failure to handle the situation could create a volatile environment in its neighbouring countries.

Calling India “a proven friend of Bangladesh”, who played a great role by helping Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971, they urged the Indian government to protect communal harmony.

“Welcoming him [Modi] in the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be a clear insult to Mujib,” said Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra.

The Left Democratic Alliance in Bangladesh is also scheduled to hold a black flag march on March 15-16 to protest Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.

Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) vie president Nurul Haque Nur has said that while students would welcome former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee, they would not extend the same to PM Modi.

“Bangabandhu was not the leader of any particular party but of freedom-loving general people of Bangladesh as well as the world. So, we won’t allow a communal leader like Modi to tarnish Bangabandhu’s image,” he said. “We along with students of the country will resist Modi from entering the country by any means.”

Tensions between India and Bangladesh have mounted over BJP leader Amit Shah’s remarks referring to undocumented migrants from Bangladesh as “termites” and fear of a flood of refugees into the country like the Rohingya crisis.