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22 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Priya Saha ‘explains’ her comments

Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Priya Saha yesterday defended her statements on the alleged persecution of minority Hindu people in Bangladesh to US President Donald Trump at a meeting in the White House on Wednesday. In an interview-styled video posted on the YouTube channel of her rights organisation SHAREE yesterday, Saha tried to defend her comments made to the US president by saying that 632 people leave Bangladesh a day. Her claims were based on a study by Dhaka University teacher Abul

Barkat, she said. “I’ve worked with Prof Barkat on the study. That’s how I’m aware of this,” she claimed in the video. She also commented on her most controversial claim that 37 million people of minority groups have “disappeared” from Bangladesh. The Hindus now account for 9.7 percent of the total population, compared to 29.7 percent during the 1947 Partition, which means many people have gradually left Bangladesh, said Priya Saha.

“All I meant is that the number of minority people has gradually declined. I didn’t mean to comment on the government. I just mentioned what happened in my village in Pirojpur,” she explained. “There were 40 families in my village in 2004. That number is now 13.” She did not give a direct answer when asked how the number of religious minorities shrank in Bangladesh.

“It’s for the state to take a look into the matter,” she said.

In the video, Saha also accused members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of attacking the minority community just after the election in 2001. Saha said it was Sheikh Hasina, the current prime minister, who stepped in and fought for the vulnerable minority community and secularism. Priya Saha, organising secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, met US President Donald Trump as part of a delegation at the White House in Washington on Jul 17.

A viral video clip of the meeting showed Priya pleading Trump to save the 18 million people of minority groups in Bangladesh from persecution.

"37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians have disappeared," she said. "My request is, please help us, we do not want to leave our country, just help us stay. I have lost my home, they have burned my home, they (have) taken away my land, but no judgement (has) yet (been) taken please, please...”

When Trump asked her who had taken her land and home, Priya was heard saying it was the Muslim fundamentalist groups. “They [the Muslim fundamentalists] are always getting political shelter, always," she told Trump.

 

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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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