Pranab Mukherjee will be in Bangladesh from March 3 to 5 on his first visit abroad after assuming office as President.

The state visit coincides with a 48-hour national hartal called by the Jamaat-e-Islami. The Jamaat has been agitating against the war crimes trials, supported by the Sheikh Hasina government, in which some of its top leaders have been sentenced to death. At least 44 people have been killed in the last two days in clashes between police and party cadre.

Mr. Mukherjee will call on Bangladesh President Md. Zillur Rahman and receive the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award for his contribution to country’s liberation war. Mr. Mukherjee will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Opposition and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, and the Foreign and Finance Ministers.

Mr. Mukherjee is to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Dhaka. Visits to Bhadrabila in Narail district, Rabindranath Tagore’s house in Shilaidaha in Kushtia district and Mirzapur have been planned. He will also attend a reception for members of the Indian community. Indian diplomatic sources here said that as New Delhi attached the highest importance to its relations with Dhaka, Mr. Mukherjee’s visit would provide an opportunity to take bilateral relations to new heights.