President of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) Prof Abul Barkat on Monday said Priya Saha distorted his research findings claiming that he did never say that some 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are missing.
Dr Barkat said some 1.13 crore Hindus went missing in the last five decades – 1964-2013 – and there is no similarity with his research findings and what Priya Saha conveyed to US President Donald Trump and a subsequent video message quoting him.
“As a social researcher, I want to be sure that Priya Saha will quickly withdraw her statements quoting my name which are confusing and devoid of principles,” Prof Barkat said in a media statement.
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 …”
Later, in a video message, Priya Saha explained her position and tried to defend her remarks tagging Abul Barkat’s research findings.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday said he has been instructed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina not to take any hasty step against Priya Saha for her remarks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump.
On Saturday, the government said it appears that there was an ulterior motive behind Priya Saha’s absolutely false and concocted stories that were targeted to malign Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh is a beacon of religious freedom and communal harmony, where people of all faiths have been living in peace for ages,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, strongly protesting all the blatant lies told by Priya Saha to US President Donald Trump.
The government also condemned her remarks in the strongest possible terms.
Priya Saha participated in the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom held at the US Department of State in Washington, DC on July 16-18.
Delegates from 106 countries, including about 40 Foreign Ministers, attended the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.unb