Dhaka – Bangladesh on Saturday remember the victims of the last year’s deadly terror attack at a restaurant in Dhaka vowing to thwart militancy and violent extremism.
Leaders of different political parties, civil society actors, diplomats and cultural persons among others thronged to lay flowers to the memory of the people who were killed by the Islamist militants at the Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan in the city at the night of July 1, 2016.
The militants entered the café at around 8 pm, held hostage the diners and killed 20 civilians, mostly foreign nationals, after getting a test through reciting verses from the Koran. They also killed two police officers before the army commandos stormed the restaurants on the following morning to free the hostages.
Senior leaders of the ruling Awami League, opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party, different socio-cultural organizations and representatives from the embassies of Japan and Italy in Dhaka paid tributes to the victims after the café site was opened Saturday to the public for the first time after the terrible attack.
They placed floral wreaths to a temporary altar set up at the original site of the Holey Artisan Bakery, which was relocated to a few blocks away in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in January.
The assailants equipped with crude bombs, machetes and pistols, took several dozen hostages (foreigners and locals) on that fateful night. The attackers shot dead two police officers who in the immediate response tried to regain control of the bakery and subsequently the others were killed by the assailants while five gunmen were killed in the drive.
“We have deter major terrorist threats, but the militants are not yet eliminated,” said Obaidul Quader, general secretary of the ruling Awami League party after paying tribute to the victims.
Bangladesh should not only depend on law enforcers to combat militancy.
“We along with the people would have to raise voice against the militancy to stamp out militancy from the country,” he added.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor said, “The various programmes taken by the government will help to fight the militancy.”
After paying tributes, President of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee Shahriar Kabir demanded immediate issuance of a ban on the politics of Jamaat and Hefejat to stop recurrence of such crimes.
Police personnel led by Mukhlesur Rahman, additional inspector general of police, paid tribute to the to the Holey Artisan attack victims.
Describing the Holey Artisan attack as the turning point in combating militancy, the officer said, “We were not familiar with such incidents before the attacks and successfully overcame it with sacrificing our lives. The extensive crackdowns by the law enforcers after the attack have gained a huge success in containing militancy which achieved praised from the home and abroad.”
Ruhul Quddus Rizvi Ahmed, a leader of the opposition BNP, urged the government to be more sincere to contain threats of terrorism.
Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh Masato Watanabe and Italian ambassador Mario Palma led officials of their respective missions to pay homage to the victims as the site opened Saturday morning for the first time after the terrible attack.