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22 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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PRIYA SAHA’S ALLEGATIONS TO TRUMP

PM does not want hasty step: Quader

Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina doesn’t want any hasty step against Priya Saha for her remarks on ‘disappearance of religious minorities from Bangladesh’ during an interaction with US President Donald Trump, road transport minister Obaidul Quader said yesterday.

"The prime minister sent me a message yesterday (from UK), saying that no hurried action should be taken against Priya Saha," he told reporters after attending a programme at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in the capital. Quader, also the Awami League general secretary, however, said Saha must make a public statement explaining what she actually wanted to tell Trump.

During an interaction between religious minorities from different countries with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday, Saha claimed that 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians had disappeared from Bangladesh.

Saha, also an organising secretary of Bangladesh

Hindu, Buddha, Christian Oikya Parishad, also told Trump that her home was torched and land grabbed by Muslim

fundamentalists.  Agencies add: Obaidul Quader said, “The reasons for making such allegations should be investigated. I think, she should be given a chance to defend herself when she returns home”.

The minister also made it clear that there is no obstruction to Priya Saha’s return to Bangladesh.

“The government will hear what she has to say first and then it’ll take necessary action,” he said, adding “To us, it (her statement) seemed intentional. She’ll be inquired about her motives behind that statement”.

The transport minister said Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque was set to lodge a sedition case against Saha but he already conveyed him the premier’s message and talked to law minister Anisul Huq and home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal as well in this regard.

Quader came up with the comments a day after he said a process was underway to try Priya Saha on sedition charges as her allegation was “absolutely false”.

The government earlier responded immediately with a foreign ministry statement calling Saha’s comments “blatant lies” as she made a complaint to Trump claiming minority communities in Bangladesh were being persecuted.

The foreign ministry suspected that she was led by an ‘ulterior motive’ while the home minister said “we will certainly ask her (about the remarks) when she returns’ from the United States.

Quader yesterday also said that as a Bangladeshi national, she made “false, purposeful and treasonous remarks”.

Meanwhile, two sedition cases filed with two Dhaka courts against Priya Saha were dismissed hours after their filing yesterday.

Asked for comments about the cases, Quader said the laws of the land debars anyone from filing of any sedition case without government permission, and the law minister was expected to take required steps in that regard.

The law minister, meanwhile, said Saha made utterly false allegation to gratify her personal desires and she should be ignored but “I think we should not give so much importance to this Priya Saha”.

“We should highlight the truth and ignore her. I think it is not right to term such small matters as ‘seditious offence’, but it is up to the judiciary and judges to decide,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a judges training programme.

He said it was not the Hindu community members alone, “all the people say that we all live amid communal harmony in Bangladesh”.

“If you go through history, you would find that least number of communal riots took place in Bangladesh,” he said.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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