Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Priya Saha must explain reason behind allegations: Home Minister

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Staff Reporter  :
Priya Saha, an Organising Secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Oikya Parishad,  will be called to account for her controversial remarks to US President Donald Trump that the religious minorities are persecuted in Bangladesh, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said.
While speaking to the media in his residence on Saturday, Kamal said there is a reason and ulterior motive behind her allegations which need to be properly scrutinised.
"We will certainly ask her (about the remarks) when she returns," said the minister.
Priya Saha  attended a meeting in the White House in Washington DC on July 19. After identifying herself as a Bangladeshi, she was seen telling Trump, among other things, that 37 million people of minority groups had disappeared in Bangladesh.
She was among five Bangladeshis and two Rohingya refugees that the US Embassy in Dhaka sent to the White House. Priya Saha  also attended the second ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State in the US capital.
A video of the meeting with the US President subsequently went viral on social media and sparked widespread controversy back home.
"We will definitely look into the allegations to see where these incidents occurred, whose houses were burnt down and whether we've properly investigated the incidents.  I believe that she (Priya Saha) may have a reason for making such allegations. She may have a motive for it. It now finds on us to see what the motive was."
Meanwhile, terming the allegation made by Priya Saha to Trump about Bangladesh as 'false and fabricated,' Kazi Reazul Hoque, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Saturday  said that she should be tried for spreading such falsehood.
"Bangladesh has been demeaned as she (Priya) made a false and fabricated allegation to the US President. It is a punishable offence. We demand justice in this regard," Reazul Hoque said.
While addressing a programme at the National Press Club in the afternoon, Reazul Hoque also called upon the government to conduct an investigation into the matter to bring Priya under the purview of the legal process.
Priya Saha, a Bangladeshi national, participated in the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom held in the US Department of State in Washington DC on July 16-18. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen also attended the meeting.
Delegates from 106 countries, including about 40 Foreign Ministers, took part in the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.
Besides, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Ashaduzzaman Mia has said that the Home Ministry is working to bring Priya Saha under legal process.
He also said, "Priya Saha's remarks are completely fabricated and baseless. Her statement is anti-national. It is part of an international conspiracy."
DMP commissioner made the statement in response to a question of a journalist at the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) in a debate competition event on Saturday.
Earlier, a video clip, that later went viral on social media, showed Priya, one of the organizing secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, pleading to Trump to save 18 million people of minority groups in Bangladesh from persecution.
She alleged that 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians had disappeared from the country, persecuted in the hands of fundamentalist Muslims groups, who enjoyed political support.

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