'I do not know what she [Priya] meant by ‘disappeared.’ If she meant murdered or missing, then that is not true'
Priya Saha’s statement on minorities having “disappeared” from the country is incorrect if she meant murdered or missing, said Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.
“I do not know what she [Priya] meant by ‘disappeared.’ If she meant murdered or missing, then that is not true,” he said at a round-table discussion on the relevance of non-communal values in Muslim majority countries, organized by Hasumonir Pathshala at the Emmanuelle Banquet Hall in Gulshan on Tuesday.
“I do know the Hindu population has come down to 9.7%. from 19% to 20% in 1971,” Rana Dasgupta added.
He further said land grabbing is an issue for minorities, and Bangladesh would become a country like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan if the minorities left.
Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi said: “We need to find out why somebody [Priya Saha] said something like this.
“We need rule of law and freedom of expression, and we have to accept that there are different religions, ethnicities and languages. We need to give equal rights regardless of religion and ethnicity, “ he added.
Religion has no value if people do not practice humanity, the Prime Minister's International Affairs adviser further said.
State Minister of the Information Ministry Murad Hassan said: “What is the point of giving incorrect information to a president of a country. This issue has hurt the whole nation but I do not think it can tarnish our image.”
Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey M Allama Siddiki said: “Muslims are partly responsible for their situation today.”
Muslim majority countries are still behind because of their conservative views towards everything, he said, adding that the view that Islam is at war with other religions is a wrong idea that is being propagated these days.
Referring to recent sexual abuse incidents in Madrasas, former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique said: “Religion is not the only thing that can make us good human beings. What are you going to achieve with religion when there is no sense of morality?”
Gazi TV Chief Editor Syed Ishtiaq Reza claimed the government only started taking a series of attacks on free-thinkers and bloggers seriously after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack.