Sunday, August 25, 2019 | ePaper

Priya Saha explains her WH remarks

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Priya Saha, a beleaguered activist who works for minority rights, has stood by her remarks on the alleged persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh to US President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House.
In a YouTube video posted by her rights organisation SHAREE on Sunday, Saha, referring to a study by Dhaka University teacher Abul Barkat said, 632 people disappear from Bangladesh every day.
Saha said she had worked with Prof Barkat on the study and "that's how I'm aware of this."
She also commented on her most controversial claim that 37 million people of minority groups have disappeared from Bangladesh.
Saha, an organising secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, attended a meeting at the White House in Washington on July 17.
After identifying herself as a Bangladeshi national, she was seen urging Trump to help the minority groups live in Bangladesh.
The Hindus now account for 9.7 percent of the total population, compared to 29.7 percent during the 1947 Partition.
That means many people have gradually left Bangladesh, Saha said in the video.
"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."
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.

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