Bangladesh govt condemns Priya Saha's allegation to Trump

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

A screen grab shows Priyabala Saha (L), one of the organising secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, talking to US president Donald Trump. Photo: UNBState minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam on Friday strongly condemned the allegation made by a Bangladeshi to US president Donald Trump saying that the government will look into it why Priyabala Saha did so.

"I’d answered 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 never saw anybody asking questions about allegations made by Priya Saha," he said.

Priya Saha is one of the organising secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad.

In a video clip that went viral on social media on Friday, Priya Saha was heard telling 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 are 18 million minority people. “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 judgment (is) yet 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 held the hand of Priya Saha for a few seconds.

Shahriar said the government will 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 gets information though their Embassy in Dhaka routinely. "We remain in touch always."

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Priya Saha's allegations have no basis as no such incident has taken place in the country.

"I've watched the video conversation between Priya Saha and Trump. It's completely a lie," he told UNB.

About criticisms of various communities while criticising Priya Saha, state minister Shahriar said, "This is also not correct."

Disapproving 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 also said Bangladesh is a shining example of religious harmony but many do damage to it for personal interest or not understanding the matter properly. "All should refrain from carrying out such activities."

Meanwhile, Molla Azad Hossain, acting superintendent of police in Pirojpur, also dismissed the allegation made to the US president.

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

Bangladesh doing something remarkable

US Ambassador in Bangladesh Earl R Miller, while visiting a Buddhist temple in city's Merul Badda on Friday afternoon, appreciated Bangladesh's religious harmony.

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

"I now have enough perspective after being here for eight months and travelling so widely to recognise that Bangladesh is doing something remarkable," he told reporters.

The US envoy also said, "Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve received the same message, be it's from Imam, priest and someone in the temple that no country can succeed unless it works together."

He said it is the lesson that his country and the world can learn from.

Talking to UNB over phone, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad Rana Dasgupta 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.

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