Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of the Holey Artisan Bakery Attack
The counterterrorism unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has conducted 23 “high-risk operations” where 63 suspected terrorists were killed, says its chief Additional Commissioner Md Asaduzzaman.
Addressing a press briefing on Thursday on the fifth anniversary of the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, Asaduzzaman said his unit, Counter Terrorsim and Transnational Crime (CTTC), was in charge of the investigation into the horrific attack.
“The CTTC arrested all terrorists, planners, financiers and accused involved in the terrorist attack in the shortest possible time and submitted a police report to the court,” he said.
The CTTC chief said the CTTC had adopted a tough stance against terrorism and a coordinated step like hard and soft "Smart Approach" against militants, reports BSS.
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As part of the Smart Approach, the CTTC has organized various seminars and workshops to raise public awareness about law enforcement as well as building social resistance against terrorism, he added.
“Among the awareness activities, the CTTC held view exchange meetings with school-college-madrasa-university students, police members, jail officers and jail guards, public representatives, security experts, academics, NGOs, cultural activists, journalists and religious scholars aimed at building social awareness,” Asaduzzaman said.
He also added that workshops had also been organised with the participation of extremists/terrorists (bailed), terrorists’ parents and family members, victims of terrorist incidents, their family members and various stakeholders.
About 174 workshops have been organized so far with the participation of people from different walks of life and through the workshops 39,400 people were made aware against extremism directly, said the CTTC chief.
Realizing the importance of adopting an integrated strategy to prevent terrorism through taking views of all participators concerned, the CTTC organized the first National Anti-Extremism Conference in 2019 with the participation of relevant ministries/divisions, civil society, education research persons, various NGOs and international NGOs, he said.
“Awareness activities, including cyber monitoring, are being carried out by CTTC to keep cyberspace safe,” the additional commissioner added.
He further said that CTTC was working relentlessly to implement the anti-militant zero-tolerance policy declared by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, adding: “Militant organizations have no capability to carry out large-scale sabotage, as the CTTC has destroyed their networks.”
Holey Artisan victims remembered
On July 1, 2016, at 8:45pm, a group of five terrorists carried out a horrific attack on innocent people present at the Holey Artisan Restaurant at Road 79 in Gulshan.
Altogether 20 locals and foreigners were killed in the militant attack. Of them, nine were Italian citizens, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-origin American and two Bangladeshi nationals. Every one of them was brutally killed by the terrorists.
The victims were remembered differently this year as a week-long countrywide strict lockdown started from Thursday. Friends and families of the victims could not come to the old premises of the café to honour the victims.
However, diplomats of the five countries paid tributes to those killed by placing floral wreaths at the base of the memorial for the victims on Wednesday.
In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the attack Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller, Japanese Ambassador ITO Naoki, Italian Ambassador Enrico Nunziata, and Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami paid homage at the memorial for the victims on Wednesday.
US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said the United States stands with the people of Bangladesh on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims. We commend Bangladesh’s efforts to bring those responsible to justice and recommit to our strong counterterrorism partnership to prevent future attacks," he added.
Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, Director General of RAB, after paying tribute, told journalists: “RAB took part in the rescue operation in coordination with other forces. RAB stopped those who promoted or broadcast the events of the heinous attack. We later arrested some involved."
A total of 32 people were rescued alive in the joint resistance operation. A case was filed with Gulshan Police Station on July 4, 2016 under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The investigation found the involvement of 21 accused. Five of them were killed in Operation Thunderbolt, and eight more were killed in subsequent law enforcement operations later.
The court sentenced seven people to death and acquitted one.