Two months have passed since the Prime Minister's Office instructed the Finance Division to arrange €1,35,000 in damages for the families of nine Italians killed in the Gulshan cafe attack, but no progress has been made.
An official of the Finance Division, requesting anonymity, said it is not possible to provide the money from the unexpected expenditure management fund due to its fund crunch at the far end of the current fiscal year.
Rather, the Finance Division has recently prepared a summary planning that it would request the Public Security Division under the Home Ministry to arrange the funds from Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
Each of the families of the victims, as the summary reads, will be disbursed €15,000, equivalent to Tk13.3lakh.
Interestingly enough, the Public Security Division says that it is not aware of any financial help for the victims.
Official documents say Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 13 gave her approval to raise the money from the state exchequer.
Primarily, the amount was planned to be raised from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. But the decision was later changed as the government reconsidered sourcing the fund from the current fiscal year's budgetary allocation.
On 8 November 2016, family members of the Italian victims requested the Bangladesh Embassy in Italy to provide financial assistance to them.
They then also demanded that a stone monument be built on Holey Artisan Bakery premises in Gulshan, the scene of the attack.
They made two more demands – returning the witnesses' statement on the incident and the personal belongings of the dead to them.
After the appeal, the Bangladeshi ambassador to Italy conveyed the message to the Prime Minister's Office, who then directed that €15,000 be provided to the applicants.
Till date, seven families of the nine Italian victims received their personal belongings from Bangladesh.
At least 20 hostages, including 17 foreign nationals, were killed by suspected militants during the terror attack at the upscale café in Gulshan diplomatic zone attack that took place on July 1.
Other than the nine Italians, the hostages included seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-born American and two Bangladeshis.
Two senior police officers – Banani police station's Officer-in-Charge Salauddin Ahmed Khan and Detective Branch Assistant Commissioner Robiul Karim – were also killed as they tried to rescue the hostages.
Thirteen people, including three foreigners, were rescued while 20 bodies of the hostages were recovered from the restaurant after a commando operation the next morning. Six of the seven gunmen were killed during the drive.
The nine dead Italians are Cristian Rossi, Marco Tondat, Nadia Benedetti, Adele Puglisi, Simona Monti, Claudia Maria D'Antona, Vincenzo D'Allestro, Maria Rivoli and Claudio Cappelli.
The seven Japanese victims, two women and five men, are Rui Shimodaira, Yuko Sakai, Makoto Okamura, Koyo Ogasawara, Hideki Hashimoto, Nobuhiro Kurosaki and Hiroshi Tanaka
Tarishi Jain is the Indian deceased, while rest three including the Bangladeshi-origin US citizen are Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, Abinta Kabir and Ishrat Akond.