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Government condemns Bangladeshi minority leader’s allegations to Trump

  • Published at 12:52 am July 20th, 2019
Bangladeshi minority leader Priya Saha-US President Donald Trump
Screenshot of a video of Bangladeshi minority leader Priya Saha speaking to US President Donald Trump, which went viral on social media on Friday, July 19, 2019

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said the government will look into the issue

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has strongly condemned the allegations made by a Bangladeshi minority leader to US President Donald Trump, and said the government will look into the issue.

“I answered various questions from various countries and NGOs, both at home and abroad, related to human rights several times, in the full house of the UN human rights agency. Individuals like Rana Dasgupta were there too. But I never saw anyone asking questions with the allegations that Priya Saha made,” he said on Friday.

Shahriar said the government would listen to her allegations and look into those.

The state minister mentioned that President Donald Trump knows that false allegations are conveyed to him, and the US administration routinely gets information through their embassy in Dhaka. “We remain in touch always.”

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Priya Saha's allegations had no basis as no such incident was taking place in the country.

In the video clip that went viral on social media on Friday, Priya Saha, one of the organizing secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, was heard telling President Trump: “Sir, I'm from Bangladesh... 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are disappeared. Please help us – for the Bangladeshi people. We want to stay in our country.”

She also said there were 18 million people of minority groups in Bangladesh. “My request is, please help us, we don't want to leave our country, just help us stay. I've lost my home, they've burned my home, they (have) taken away my land, but no judgement (has) yet (been) taken please, please...”

Trump was heard asking her: “Who took the land and home?” In reply, she said the Muslim fundamentalist groups. 

“Always they're getting the political shelter, always.”

At one stage, Trump extended his hand and held her hand for a few seconds.

“I've watched the video conversation between Priya Saha and Trump. It's a complete lie,” Shahriar Alam said. 

About criticism of various communities while criticizing Priya Saha, the state minister said: “This is also not correct.”

Disapproving of Priya Saha's claim, he said such behaviour from a person who is engaged in various levels of society is not acceptable.

The state minister said Bangladesh is a shining example of religious harmony, and many damage its reputation for personal interest or not understanding the matter properly. 

“All should refrain from carrying out such activities.”

Meanwhile, Molla Azad Hossain, the acting superintendent of police (SP) in Pirojpur, where Priya Saha is from, also dismissed the allegation made to the US president.

He said no such incident took place in Pirojpur and there was no authenticity to her allegation. “If anyone tries to harm the religious harmony here, law enforcers will take strict measures to prevent him/her.”

General secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, Rana Dasgupta, said he was not aware how Priya Saha went to the US and approached 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 have 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 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.