Announcing a two-day national mourning from today for those killed in Friday's terrorist attack on a Gulshan eatery, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last night called upon the people to have confidence in her government.
"When Bangladesh is emerging as a self-reliant and self-dependent country, a vested local-international quarter is conspiring to obstruct the country's advancement," she said in a televised address to the nation.
"By holding innocent people hostage at gunpoint, they want to portray the country as a dysfunctional state … They have resorted to terrorism after failing to win the hearts of the people democratically. They are misleading the soft-hearted youths in the name of religion and killing people by giving them arms."
The national flag would be hoisted at half-mast, people would wear black badges and prayers would be offered in mosques, temples, churches and all other places of worship during the two days of mourning.
Taking a firm stance against terrorism, Hasina said the peace-loving people of Bangladesh would not let the conspirators be successful.
"Together with the countrymen, we will resist their conspiracy at any cost."
Everyone has to be united in resisting "the limited number of terrorists", the prime minister said, urging people at the grassroots levels to stand firm against terrorism.
"What do they want to gain by killing people? ... Islam is the religion of peace. Stop killing people in the name of Islam," she said.
Hasina also called upon the guardians to give their children proper education and watch them closely so that they do not get derailed. "I urge those who have already gone astray: Come back to the right path. Uphold Islam's dignity."
Promising to root out terrorism from Bangladesh, she said, “No conspiracy will be able to hamper our progress. Let's forget all differences and work together for establishing a secure and golden Bangla as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.”
Hasina said Friday's attack demeaned the religion and the humanity. This barbaric and cowardice attack is unprecedented in a country of religious harmony like Bangladesh.
She said her government was quick to react to the attack. Members of police, Rab, and BGB along with other law enforcement agencies rushed to the spot and began the rescue operation immediately. Later, commandos from army, navy and air forces joined in and rescued hostages.
Six attackers were killed on the spot, she said, adding, “We have been able to rescue 13 people, including three foreigners, unhurt.”
The PM thanked the members of police, Rab, BGB, army, navy, air force, and fire fighters for taking part in the operation. She also expressed her gratitude to the world leaders for expressing solidarity with her government during the crisis.
Hasina then prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and offered her sympathy to the victim families.
Earlier in the morning, the premier while inaugurating two four-lane highways from a programme at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Center, described the terrorist attack as a “very dastardly act”.
She said those who carried out the attack during the month of Ramadan did not believe in any religion.
PM TAEKS SWIPE AT TV CHANNELS
Taking a swipe at private TV channels for broadcasting live the rescue operation, the PM said through this the terrorists inside the restaurant were able to know everything about the preparations, BSS reports.
"That's why we told the TV channels to stop live broadcast. We also stopped cable and internet services in Gulshan area," she said at the programme in the morning.
The premier said some TV channels did not pay heed to the call and continued to broadcast the operation live. Such incidents also happened during the BDR carnage, she said.
"Those TV channels which violated the decisions are under our watch," she added.