Those who could recite a verse from the Quran were spared, others were tortured, said a rescued hostage of the Gulshan restaurant attack where at least two lawmen were killed.

“The others were tortured by the gunmen,” said Rezaul Karim, father of Hasnat Karim who was held hostage inside Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic zone for over 10 hours.

Hasnat Karim, his wife Sharmin Karim and daughter Safa, 13, and Rayan, 8, went to celebrate Safa’s birthday at the Spanish restaurant in Gulshan’s Road no-79 last night.

The birthday celebration took a dangerously unprecedented turn when gunmen stormed into the restaurant and took about 20 people, including foreigners dining there, hostage.

They were finally rescued after a joint drive of the military, paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh, police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion pushed a heavily-manned offensive this morning.

“They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals,” Reazul said quoting his victim son Hasnat. “Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.”

“The gunmen were doing a background check on religion by asking everyone to recite from the Quran. Those who could recite a verse or two were spared. The others were tortured.”

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