The two-storey building, which remains closed to the public, hosted the visitors, along with diplomats from the embassy of Japan and Italy, and members of law enforcement agencies as they paid their respects, and grieved for the deceased
Three years after what is considered to be the deadliest terror attack in the history of Bangladesh, grieving friends, family members, and absolute strangers came together on Monday at the restaurant's original premises in Gulshan to mourn the incident.
The two-storey building, which remains closed to the public, hosted the visitors, along with diplomats from the embassy of Japan and Italy, and members of law enforcement agencies as they paid their respects, and grieved for the deceased.
Maksuda Begum broke down into tears as she remembered the day she lost her son, Shaon in the July 1, 2016 Holey Artisan terror attack. Zakir Hossain Shaon, an employee at the restaurant, who was detained by police and later died in their custody on July 8, 2016.
Maksuda now receives Tk5,000 from the owner of Holey Artisan, which she said "barely" helps her to get by.
She said: "I could not even feed my son proper meals when he was a child. I thought my family’s hardships were finally over when Shaon got this job at Holey Artisan. But everything changed after the terrorist attack."
Agnese Barola Rizvi, an Italian national who lost her friends in the attack, said: “Just by being here, I feel the presence of all my friends. They really loved Bangladesh. The way they died is just terrible."
Father Riccardo Tobanelli, who had been friends with victim Cristian Rossi recalled memories of speaking to him about his wife, who was scheduled to arrive to Bangladesh with their twin babies.
"Two days before the attack, I jokingly told him that he needed to sell his Porsche car to take care of his two babies," he recounted. Rossi never got to take care of his children.
Father Tobanelli also lost his friends Claudia Maria D'Antona, Nadia Benedetti, and Adele Puglisi on that day.
Advocate and rights activist Jibananda Jayanta has also been paying tribute to the victims every year, although he is not related to any of the victims. "As a Bangladeshi, I think I have a responsibility to pay homage to the victims who lost their lives here," he said.
On that evening, five militants armed with guns and knives stormed the upscale cafe, and took around 40 people, including restaurant staff and guests — both locals and foreigners, hostage.
Then they killed 22 people — including two police officials, nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-born American, and two Bangladeshis — during the overnight seize by the terrorist attackers.