Priya Saha distorted my research findings: Prof Barkat

Professor Abul Barkat
Prof Abul Barkat. Photo: Star/file

President of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) Abul Barkat today said Priya Saha has distorted his research findings by her comments during an interaction with US President Donald Trump that 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians have disappeared in Bangladesh.

“I did never say in my research work that some 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are missing,” Barkat said in a press statement calling upon Priya Saha to withdraw her statement immediately.

“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 principle,” Barkat said in the media statement.

Barkat in his research work said some 1.13 crore Hindus went missing in the last five decades - 1964-2013 - and there is no similarity with his research findings what Priya Saha conveyed to the US president and a subsequent video message quoting him.

In a video clip that went viral on social media on Friday, that 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.

In the video message, Priya Saha claimed that she was a coresearcher of Barkat and she got the statistics from the research work.

Barkat in the statement rejected her claim saying that she (Priya Saha) was never his coresearcher, research associate or assistant researcher.

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.