The government has approved compensation packages worth €300,000, or around Tk2.79 crore, for the families of 20 local and foreign victims who died in the terror attack on Holey Artisan Bakery last year.
This follows directives from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who urged the authorities concerned to take all necessary steps to compensate the families, officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs told the Dhaka Tribune.
The Finance Division issued a circular signed by Senior Assistant Secretary Md Rajibul Islam on Tuesday for the disbursement of the compensation packages from its risk management fund for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
According to the circular, Each of the 20 families is expected to receive €15,000, or around Tk13.95 lakh.
The Public Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs has been directed to distribute the compensation packages by July 30.
Five terrorists stormed Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, Dhaka on July 1, 2016, and killed 20 hostages, 17 of whom were foreign nationals – nine Italian, seven Japanese and one Indian.
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They victims are: Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, Abinta Kabir, Ishrat Akhond, Tarishi Jain, Adele Puglisi, Claudia Maria D'Antona, Simona Monti, Marco Tondat, Nadia Benedetti, Vincenzo D'Allestro, Maria Rivoli, Cristian Rossi, Claudio Cappelli, Koyo Ogasawara, Makoto Okamura, Yuko Sakai, Rui Shimodaira, Hiroshi Tanaka, Nobuhiro Kurosaki and Hideki Hashimoto.
Two policemen and two employees of the bakery also died because of the attack.
Sources said families of the Italian victims asked for financial assistance in November last year via the Bangladeshi ambassador in Italy, as they were more in need of financial assistance than the families of the other victims.
Initially, a decision had been made to send assistance to the Italian families, but it was vetoed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. On May 14, Muhith and Hasina exchanged a series of notes where he argued that it would be discriminatory to provide assistance to only the Italian families, and it could potentially embarrass Bangladesh.
He proposed that the families of all victims, both local and foreign, be compensated, the sources added.
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In May this year, the government decided to provide compensation to the families of all 20 hostages who was killed by the terrorists. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed an order asking the Finance Division to arrange for a total of €135,000, or about Tk1.23 crore for compensation.
“We will provide assistance to the families of the citizens of different countries who were killed in the terrorist attack in Gulshan,” the prime minister said in the order.
The amount was later raised to €300,000.
Finance Minister Muhith also suggested that the money be paid out through the government exchequer as the Finance Division had said it would not be possible to pay it through the Unexpected Expenditure Management Fund given the lack of funds near the end of the fiscal year.