10 days of festivity planned
The government has drawn up a 10-day programme, to be hosted at the capital's National Parade Square, to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the country's independence.
The programme will be attended by heads of state and governments of different countries.
The gala celebrations will begin on March 17 and end on March 26, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters yesterday after a meeting of the sub-committee on security on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation at the secretariat.
The events will be graced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said.
Foreign ministry officials said the Maldives president would visit Bangladesh on March 17-19, Sri Lankan president on March 19-20, Nepal president on March 22-23 and the Indian premier on March 26-27.
Besides, other high-profile guests are expected to issue video messages on the occasion.
Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, chief coordinator of the Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, said they were avoiding large-scale public gatherings because of hygiene rules.
He said the invited guests at the in-person events have to undergo Covid-19 testing and carry a negative report to attend the event. The certificate of the test will remain valid for 48 hours.
"We must maintain hygiene rules strictly and prove that we have the ability to perform [a programme] in such a situation," he said.
About 500 guests from home and abroad will be invited to the event, which will also be broadcast live so that people across the world can see it.
The invitees will attend the programme in-person on four days, while the events of the other six days will be broadcast live.
Special arrangements will be made for the heads of state and governments attending the celebrations.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the government has planned to impose tight security measures on the occasion.
Apart from ensuring security at the National Parade Ground, necessary security measures would be taken during the movement of foreign dignitaries, diplomats and other eminent personalities from home and abroad, and also at the installations where they would stay, the minister said.
"There will be intelligence surveillance during all the occasions. A control room will be set up to coordinate security measures. Moreover, 999 services will be available round the clock to prevent any untoward incidents. All utility services will be provided at the venue," said Asaduzzaman.
On the occasion, security arrangements would also be made during the year-round programmes at the divisional, district, upazila, municipality and union levels.
Asked about the government's plan to manage traffic during the movement of foreign guests, the home minister said the security forces and the police chief would work on the issue.
"Everyone will be informed precisely about how the traffic will move and for how long a particular road will remain closed," he said.
Replying to a query, Asaduzzaman said he does not expect that an untoward situation will arise centring the arrival of Indian PM Modi.
"We have no information in this regard. We think everyone loves Bangladesh and the Father of the Nation. We don't think anyone will disturb the celebration of the Father of the Nation's birth centenary."
He said Bangladesh is a democratic country and everyone here has freedom of speech. "Many people say many things which make no sense. I don't think there will be any such situation. We want cooperation from all to celebrate the festival."
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed, Rab Director General Abdullah Al Mamun and other high officials were present at the meeting.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller yesterday said a high-level delegation from the US government might visit Bangladesh in the near future to attend the year-long celebrations.
Besides, there is a possibility of receiving video messages from US leadership on the occasion of the upcoming 10-day celebration programme this month, he added.
The US envoy said this when he met Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the latter's office in Dhaka.