Millennium Post

Pranab visits Bangladesh amid violence, Khaleda Zia cancels meeting

President Pranab Mukherjee’s maiden international visit saw an irritation with a general strike by fundamentalist Jammat-e-Islami to protest the conviction of its three top leaders for 1971 war crimes. Resultantly, the opposition leader and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia cancelled her meeting with Mukherjee that was scheduled for Monday. Mukherjee arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday for a three-day state visit to boost bilateral ties.

BNP, which called a countrywide shut down on Tuesday, the concluding day of Mukherjee’s visit, cited no reason officially to call off Zia’s meeting with the President. BNP was understood to have conveyed her inability to meet Mukherjee a couple of days ago. Interestingly, Khaleda had met Mukherjee in New Delhi in November last year on the concluding day of her nine-day visit to India.

As Mukherjee began his visit, at least 60 people were killed and fresh violence rocked the first day of the strike called by Jamaat in four districts of Bogra, Joypurhat, Jhenaidah and Rajshahi.

Mukherjee, who arrived in Dhaka on an Air India One flight, was received by Bangladesh President Mohammad Zillur Rahman at the VVIP lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

The visit takes place at a time when the trial of the Islamists for the crimes they committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh triggered a popular upsurge at Shahbagh Square against religious fundamentalism in the neighbouring country. New Delhi has already voiced its support for the agitation.

On the concluding day of his tour, he will go to Bhadrabila village in Narail district of Bangladesh to visit the ancestral house of his in-laws.
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