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POST TIME: 20 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 July, 2019 01:33:28 AM
COMPLAINT TO TRUMP OVER ‘RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION’
Govt to probe motive behind Priya Saha’s allegations
Says Shahriar Alam
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Govt to probe motive behind Priya Saha’s allegations

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam yesterday said the government will investigate why Priya Saha, one of the organising secretaries to Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, made complaints to US President Donald Trump on repression on minority people.

On July 16, Trump, in his Washington office, met 27 people from 16 countries who faced persecution in the name of religion. Priya was one of these 27 people representing Bangladesh at the meet. When her turn came, she told trump that 37 million people belonging to the Hindu, Buddhist and the Christian communities in Bangladesh “have disappeared” and sought help from the US president in this regard.

Saying that 18 million minority community people still live in Bangladesh, Priya

informed the US president that her house was torched and her land was grabbed by “Muslim fundamentalist groups” and that the attackers are always getting “political shelter”.

“I have lost my home, they burned my home, they taken my land but no judgement yet taken place (sic),” she told the US president.  

 In a reaction to this event, Shahriar on his verified Facebook page, said the government will investigate why Priya made such complaints.

“The government will listen to her complaints and look into the matter,” Shahriar said.

"I had answered various questions of various countries and NGOs both from home and abroad related to human rights several times in the full house of the UN Human Rights. Persons like respected Rana Dasgupta were also there. But I did never see anybody asking questions with allegations made by Priya Saha," Shahriar said.

“As the president, Trump knows that false complaints are lodged often even to him. The US administration usually gets such information through their embassy in Dhaka and we are in constant contact with them,” Shahriar added. He also said that people are criticising those belonging to different communities and that it was not the right thing to do.

“Priya Saha’s complaints are not true. Such a behavior from a person, who has contact at and access to every level of the government, is not acceptable,” said the state minister.

He ended his status saying Bangladesh is a glaring example of religious harmony and all should refrain from harming that harmony.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan also dismissed Saha's allegations saying the claims have no basis as no such incident has taken place in the country.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Earl R Miller, while visiting a Buddhist temple in the capital’s Merul Badda yesterday, appreciated Bangladesh's religious harmony, adds UNB.

Miller, who was sworn in as US Ambassador to Bangladesh on November 13 last year, shared his experience meeting religious leaders from across the country and praised the religious harmony.

He said, "No country can succeed without working together."

Talking to UNB over phone, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad Rana Dashgupta said he is not aware how Priyabala Saha went to the USA and reached Trump.

He said she was not among the three persons who represented Oikya Parishad at the ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State.

"I've nothing else to say," he said, declining to comment on her allegations.

The second ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State was held in Washington DC. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen attended the meeting. Delegates from 106 countries with about 40 Foreign Ministers attended the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.