Dhaka: The number of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh has grown by one per cent to 1.70 crore in one year constituting 10.7 per cent of the population by the end of 2015, an official report said.
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said their latest vital sample statistics report found the country's total population to be 15.89 crore by the end of 2015 with the number of Hindus at 1.70 crore.
Previous BBS studies showed Bangladesh's Hindu population size was 1.55 crore in 2014 suggesting that the numbers of the country's largest minority community increased by 1.5 million in one year. Hindus are the second largest population group in terms of religion.
The statistics come as Hindu community leaders expressed fears that their number was decreasing gradually as a sense of insecurity forced many Hindus to leave the country for neighbouring India over the decades.
According to the 1951 census, Hindus were 22 per cent of the population, in 1974 the figure came down to 14 per cent and the last 2011 census suggests the followers of faith consists only 8.4 per cent of the population.
"The BBS statistics which has been published today is actually based on a random sampling. If it represents the real picture, definitely I will be the happiest man in the country," Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council presidium member Kajal Debnath said.
A BBS official, familiar with the process said the random sampling report was prepared this year with the data collected from 12,012 areas while the previous report was prepared with data gathered from 1,500 areas....