Buddhist federation dismisses claims of minority decline in Bangladesh

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News Desk

The Bangladesh Buddhist Federation has released a statement refuting allegations of a decline in religious minority populations in the country, made in a letter addressed to US President Joseph Biden by six members of the US Congress on May 17.

“A part of the said letter refers to the allege reduction of the number of religious minorities in Bangladesh during the regime of Sheikh Hasina,” reads a press release issued on Friday.

Although the letter did not specifically mention the minority Buddhist community of Bangladesh, yet the federation has reasons to refuse the allegations mentioned in the letter, the release said.

The members of the federation believe the letter’s content to be largely “imaginary and fabricated”.

Citing the Bangladesh censuses of 2011 and 2022, the federation pointed out that the proportion of the Buddhist population in the country, out of the total population, has remained stable at approximately 0.61%.

The Buddhist community in Bangladesh has been cohabiting in peace and harmony with people of other faiths during both Bangabandhu’s government and the current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

They acknowledged isolated incidents of communal disharmony but praised the government’s prompt and strict response.

The federation underlined their appreciation for the Bangladesh government’s “zero tolerance” policy towards terrorism and violent extremism that targets communal harmony, asserting that they are the primary beneficiaries of this approach.

The press release, signed by its General Secretary Ven Bhikkhu Sunandariya and President Engineer Dibyendu Bikash Chowdhury Barua, ended with a salute to Bangladesh and a wish for happiness for all beings.

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