General

No impunity for terrorists, militants: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reiterated her government's "zero tolerance" policy against terrorism and violent extremism, saying that there would be no impunity for such acts.

The prime minister was talking to Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Senator Benedetto della Vedova who called on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here yesterday afternoon.

After the meeting, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Pointing out her government's steps to contain militancy and terrorism, the prime minister said her government is trying to find out the masterminds supplying arms and money to the terrorists.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken programmes to alert people against terrorism and militancy. "We are getting tremendous response to this end from the people," she said.

She said she has already talked to the people of all levels of 64 districts through videoconference to create awareness against terrorism and militancy.

"The people of the country have become vigilant against these social vices due to such campaigns and we are going to resume such programmes soon,"

she said.

Sheikh hasina said a trend is seen that youths of well-educated and well-off families are being involved in radicalization. "It is seen everywhere, even in Europe."

Talking about the barbaric attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan on July 1, the prime minister said: "We never expected such an incident."

"We have been able to tackle the situation within 10 hours, and

subsequently our law enforcement agencies carried out some successful

operations, killing and arresting some militants," she added.

At the outset of the meeting, Sheikh Hasina again expressed her

heartfelt condolences for the families of those killed in the Gulshan cafe attack.

In reply, the Italian deputy foreign minister said he would convey the prime minister's condolences to the families of the Italia

Senator Benedetto underscored the need for international cooperation to combat terrorism and militancy. "There is need for cooperation to each other in this regard," he said.

Expressing satisfaction over the Bangladesh government's measures to tackle militancy and terrorism, the Italian deputy foreign minister said the government has commitment to restore confidence of the people in this regard.

Senator Benedetto said the terrorists want to divide and scare the people and stop their movement.

The Italian deputy foreign minister said the Italian businesspeople want to come to Bangladesh to make investment. He, however, said security will have to be ensured for it.

Senator Benedetto said Italy wants to cooperate Bangladesh in "Blue Economy" apart from RMG and textile sector. "We want to help Bangladesh in its 'Blue Economy' by providing expertise," he said.

The Italian deputy foreign minister highly praised Bangladesh's achievement of 7.11 percent GDP growth rate in the last fiscal year, describing it as "incredible".

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Italian Ambassador in Dhaka Mario Palma were present at the meeting, among others.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)