Pope uses word 'Rohingya' for first time in Dhaka

ANI | Updated: Dec 01, 2017 21:40 IST

London [UK], Dec 1 (ANI): Pope Francis puts the word 'Rohingyas' to use in public for the first time during his trip to Asia.

The Pope told a group of 16 refugees, "The presence of God today is also called Rohingya," reported the Independent.

He has met with a group of Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, asking them for "forgiveness".

"In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness. I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking," he said.

Pope Francis' comment to refugees in Dhaka was made in an improvised remark and was not in his speech to the interfaith meeting.

The 16 Rohingyas, who travelled to Dhaka from Cox Bazar, met Francis in the archbishop's house during an interfaith prayer.

He had refrained from using the term on his earlier visit to Myanmar.

According to the reports,the pontiff had previously been thrown flak at for failing to mention the Rohingya directly while in Burma.

The Vatican defended his silence, saying Francis wanted to "build bridges" with the mainly Buddhist nation, whose government considers the Rohingya as having illegally migrated from Bangladesh.

More than 620,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since the Myanmar security forces launched an operation in response to alleged attacks by militants on August 25 against 30 police posts and a regimental headquarters.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed a deal on repatriation after both the countries came to a consensus following a meeting between Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. (ANI)