Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh will be an occasion to appreciate the “remarkable economic and developmental strides” of that country. In a pre-departure statement Mr. Modi said he would hold “substantive” dialogue with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and interact with the Matua Hindus at Orakandi in Gopalganj during the March 26-27 visit.
“My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh’s remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership, but also to commit India’s abiding support for these achievements,” said Mr. Modi in his statement.
The PM will reach Dhaka on Friday morning and attend the National Day Programme in the second half of the day.
Mr. Modi said he was keen to participate in the National Day celebrations on Friday, which will also commemorate the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and added, “Bangabandhu was one of the tallest leaders of the last century, whose life and ideals continue to inspire millions.” Praising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government, Mr. Modi said he would hold “substantive discussions” with her during the visit.
Mr. Modi will have an extensive tour outside of Dhaka on March 27, which will include a visit to the Jashoreshwari Kali Temple, one of the oldest Hindu pilgrimage centres in Bangladesh. In Gopalganj, he will visit Tungipara to pay his tributes at the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. At Orakandi, he will visit the Thakurbari, headquarters of the Matua sect of the Hindu community.
According to informed sources, multiple layers of security has been enforced by the authorities at Orakandi, where two helipads have been set up for Mr. Modi’s arrival. The high point of the visit will be an interaction with the Matua community at the spot, which is considered sacred by the community, with a sizeable presence in both West Bengal and Bangladesh.
“I am particularly looking forward to my interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri Sri Harichandra Thakur- ji disseminated his pious message,” said Mr. Modi. Harichandra Thakur was the founder of the Matua sect, which will welcome PM Modi with musical instruments that are a part of their festivities.
Thursday however, witnessed a large protest at the heart of Dhaka led by Jubo Adhikar Parishad, which took out a rally against the visit of the Indian leader. The police fired tear gas shells and brought the situation under control. A large rally was also taken out by the Hefazat E Islam last week against Mr. Modi’s visit. The Government of Bangladesh took strong steps against the group following the rally, and enforced tough security measures across Dhaka for the Indian PM’s visit.