Dhaka, March 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and paid floral tributes to him, becoming the first-ever foreign Head of State or Head of Government to pay homage at the grave of 'Bangabandhu' at Tungipara in southwestern Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Modi was received at the mausoleum by his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, who is the daughter of Rahman. Sheikh Rehana, the youngest daughter of Rahman was also present.

Modi, who was covering his face with a mask, paid floral tributes to 'Bangabandhu' and stood in silence for a few minutes while Hasina and her Cabinet colleagues offered 'Fatiha'.

Prime Minister Modi is the first-ever foreign Head of State or Head of Government to pay homage at Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release.

"The life of Bangabandhu epitomized the freedom struggle of the people of Bangladesh for their rights, for the preservation of their inclusive culture and their identity," Modi wrote in the visitor book at the Mausoleum complex.

Prime Minister Modi also planted a Bakul tree sapling at the Mausoleum complex to commemorate this historic event.

India's prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 was conferred on Bangabandhu this week. It was for the first time that the award was given away posthumously. On Friday, Prime Minister Modi presented the award to Hasina and her younger sister Rehana.

Modi earlier said Bangabandhu was a champion of human rights and freedom, and a hero to Indians as well.

Rahman was imprisoned in Pakistan, which was forced to set him free on January 8, 1972.

He returned to Dhaka on January 10, 1972. He later took over as Prime Minister of Bangladesh but was assassinated by some military officers during a coup d'etat on August 15, 1975. His wife, brother, sons and daughters-in-law were also assassinated along with him. Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana survived as they were in Europe.

Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh on his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus, on Friday attended the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country's independence, the birth centenary of 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka. - PTI