People from all walks of life paid homage to victims killed in extremist attack on Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan in Dhaka amid tight security in and around the café on Saturday marking the first anniversary of the attack.
Families of the victims, politicians and diplomats walked to the café premises to place floral wreaths showing respect to the 24 victims, including 17 foreigners.
They renewed the call to fight extremism.
The police frisked each of the people who visited the spot after four-tier security arrangements around the café.
Cops were also posted on the rooftop of the café.
People carrying flowers were only allowed to enter the cafe premises apart from security personnel and journalists.
‘We need to frisk everyone to ensure security,’ said a police official at the checkpoint in front of the café which was kept open to public from morning to afternoon.
Ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Japanese and Italian diplomats, cultural and social activists, among others, paid homage to the victims.
The Gulshan café attack left 29 people, including 17 foreigners, two police officials and five suspects, killed on July 1 and 2, 2016.
Middle East-based extremist outfit Islamic State claimed the responsibility for the attack. The government denied the claim, saying that home-grown extremists of banned Jamaatul Mujahidin Bangladesh faction launched the attack.
‘The incident was a turning point for law and order in Bangladesh as we were not familiar with its enormity and facing such an attack was a big challenge for us,’ said additional inspector general of police Mokhlesur Rahman.
‘I came here as a mother. I do not want anyone to die in this way,’ said Shafinaz Amin, a family friend of victim Israt Akhand.
After placing wreaths, former interim backed caretaker government adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury said that the attack gave a big punch at the society. ‘I am here to commemorate the victims.’
She criticised the delay in the investigation into the case and ‘the investigation continues even inside one year of the attack while we have not got the answer.’
Blaming the government is not the solution rather it is important whether the families are taking care of their children properly, she said.
Talking to journalists, Obaidul Quader said that extremism was yet to be uprooted. ‘But the extremists have been weakened.’
Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, said that the government set up examples in countering extremism. He, however, was not satisfied with the progress.
‘We will be satisfied when we will able to unite the country against extremism and that will be an effective way,’ he said, stressing the need for a platform under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to fight against extremism.
A six-member delegation led by BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi also placed a wreath at a makeshift dais.
After paying tribute, Rizvi said that BNP had expected that the extremist network emerged in different ways would be uprooted through ‘comprehensive’ and ‘coordinated’ steps, but there were no such initiatives from the government. He said that even the charge sheet was not submitted yet.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters on June 28, 2017 that the charge sheet would be submitted soon.
The investigating agency claimed that they were getting late in submitting the charge sheet because of delayed preparation of post-mortem reports.
The Dhaka Medical College had prepared reports of the post mortems on the bodies of all the victims by June 19. Its forensic department head Shohel Mahmud on Saturday submitted six post mortem reports – five for the five suspects and the other for a chef – to the investigators.
Shohel Mahmud in a briefing at the college said that all the six bodies bore marks of bullets and splinters.
He said that they examined samples of blood, urine, viscera and hair of the suspects and found that they took no dope before the attack.
Of the hostages killed in the attack, women had to face more brutality than the males, he said.
The bodies of the five suspects – Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam Payel and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal – and chef Saiful Chokidar were kept at the mortuary of Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka for about three months.
Anjuman Mufidul Islam, a charity, buried them at Jurain Graveyard on September 22, 2016.
The investigators said that Canadian-Bangladeshi Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and his close aide Sarwar Jahan, who was killed in operations few months after the café attack, orchestrated the attack.
After the café attack, at least 80 suspected extremists, all of the JMB faction, or their family members were either killed or committed suicide in law enforcers’ raids at places including Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Tangail, Moulvibazar, Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Chittagong.
Source: New Age