Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council ousts Priya Saha

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 21:22, Jul 22, 2019 | Updated : 22:38, Jul 22, 2019

File photo shows Priya Saha

The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council has ousted its organising secretary Priya Saha amid a public outcry over her remarks on alleged persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh to US President Donald Trump.
The council’s General Secretary Rana Dasgupta confirmed Bangla Tribune on Monday (Jul 22).
The decision came from a meeting of the organisation’s standing committee presided over by its President Nim Chandra Bhaumik, he said.
“She has been temporarily expelled for breach of organisational discipline,” Dasgupta said before adding that Saha’s recent remarks prompted the move.
The Council will hold a media briefing on Wednesday (Jul 24) when details will be provided, he said.
In a video clip that went viral on social media on Friday (Jul 19), 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 ..."
Screenshot of a video of Bangladeshi minority leader Priya Saha speaking to US President Donald Trump, which went viral on social media on Friday (Jul 19, 2019).Later, in a video message, Saha defended her remarks referring to findings of a study by Dhaka University teacher Abul Barkat.
She claimed of being a co-researcher of Barkat and she got the statistics from the research work.
According to her, it was found in the study that 632 people disappear from Bangladesh every day.
On the controversial ‘37 million’ remarks, Saha said Hindus now account for 9.7 percent of the total population, compared to 29.7 percent during the 1947 Partition, which means people have gradually left the country.
“What I meant is that the number of minority people has fallen gradually. My intention was not to make remarks on the government,” she said.
However, Professor Barkat said on Monday (Jul 22) that the minority rights activist has “distorted my research findings” and that Saha has never worked as a co-researcher with him.
“I never said in my research work that some 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are missing,” he said in a statement sent to the media calling upon Saha to withdraw her statement immediately.
Barkat in his research work said some 11.3 million Hindus went missing in the five decades from 1964 to 2013.
He said there is no connection with his research findings to what Saha told to Trump, and a subsequent video message quoting his research.