All families of the victims of the Holey Artisan Bakery terror attack will receive financial assistance from the government.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently signed off on this order, asking the Finance Division to arrange for a total of 135,000 euro or about Tk1.23cr for the families.
“We will provide assistance to the families of the citizens of different countries who were killed in the Gulshan cafe attack by militants,” a note from the prime minister to the division said.
Initially, a decision was made to send assistance to the families of the nine Italians killed in the terrorist attack in July last year. The families had appealed last year to the government for assistance via the Bangladeshi embassy in Rome.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith however, vetoed the decision. On May 14, Muhith and Hasina exchanged a series of notes where he argued that it would be discriminatory to give assistance to only the Italian families and it could potentially be embarrassing to the nation.
He proposed that the families of all the victims of the terrorist attack, whether Bangladeshi or foreigner, whould receive the compensation.
He also suggested that the money be paid out from the government exchequer as the Finance Division had said it would not be possible to give the money from the Unexpected Expenditure Management Fund to the families of nine Italians victims due to its fund crunch at the far end of the current fiscal year.
The prime minister gave her consent on this.
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.
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 November 8 last year family members of the Italian victims requested the Bangladesh Embassy in Italy to provide financial assistance to them. They also demanded that a stone monument be built on the Holey premises.
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 ambassador conveyed the message to the Prime Minister’s Office, who then directed that €15,000 be provided to each of the applicants.