People from all walks of life are paying tribute to the victims of the gruesome terrorist attack at the former Holey Artisan Bakery premises in Gulshan, on the first anniversary of the massacre.
The upscale cafe near Dhaka's diplomatic zone was besieged by five armed men on the night of July 1, 2016, who killed 20 people and held others hostage till the next morning.
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Police are providing security as mourners gather to the spot of the terrorist attack Syed Zakir Hossain
On behalf of ruling Awami League, General Secretary Obaidul Quader placed floral wreaths at Holey Artisan at around 9:50am Saturday. He was accompanied by Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Jahangir Kabir Nanok and many other leaders and activists. Wreaths were also placed on behalf of local Chhatra League and Awami League units.
Obaidul Quader spoke briefly to the press saying although militancy has not been uprooted from the country, the government's efforts had weakened them significantly.
The senior Awami League leaders also urged people to help law enforcers in fighting against militancy.
Japanese Ambassador Masato Watanabe and a small group of people came to the restaurant early on, around 7am, and held a quiet moment of remembrance. Of the 20 hostages killed by the terrorists in the attack, seven were Japanese nationals.
A delegation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Senior Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi placed a floral wreath at the Holey Artisan Bakery and conveyed their condolences to the victims’ family.
Rizvi said: “Bangladesh is a lovable and harmonious country and the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery is an unexpected experience. The government speaks about uprooting the extremists but we do not see any drive towards that. The mystery of the attack is also unexpected as IS claimed the attack but the government denied the existence of IS in the country. We do not want such mystery.”
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A floral wreath placed in front of the restaurant to remember Nadia Benedetti, am Italian victim of the attack Mahmud Hossain Opu
Later at 10:05am after placing a floral wreath, Ekattorer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee President Shahriar Kabir said: “Jamaat-e-Islami is the root of terrorism. If they are not eliminated, terrorism can never come to an end.”
He also demanded the government ban Jamaat-e-Islami from doing politics in Bangladesh.
Holey premises will remain open till 2pm for the public. Police are providing security for the area.
Family and friends of the victims Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain and Ishrat Akhond arrived at the spot around 12pm.
Masuda Begum, mother of Zakir Hossain Shaon, came from Narayanganj to mourn for her son. Shaon was a Holey employee who escaped the restaurant with bullet wounds on the night of the attack but died later in a hospital.
Among others who came to pay respect were activists Badiul Alam Majumdar and Ferdousi Priyabhashini, actress Shomi Kaiser and Asif Munier, vice president of Projonmo 71.