Police have formally pressed charges against eight people in court in the anti-terrorism case two years after the attack
Militant outfit New JMB’s attack on Holey Artisan Bakery and O’ Kitchen in Dhaka’s Gulshan on July 1, 2016 was aimed at achieving two goals – destabilizing Bangladesh and attracting the attention of international terror groups, police said.
Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam, who heads the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit on Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), made the disclosure at a press briefing on Monday.
He said the militants’ ultimate goal was to create a sense of instability in the country through the attack, by killing foreign nationals.
“They wanted to turn Bangladesh into a militant state, destabilize the economy, embarrass and corner the government; so that foreign investors would leave or avoid the country.”
Their plan was to evade capture as long as possible in the hope that the law enforcement agencies’ failure to catch them would turn the people against the government, Monirul said.
He said: “Their second goal was to draw the attention of international militant organizations and get technical and financial support along with arms and ammunition from them.
“The major terror groups across the world have access to many weapons. That’s why the New JMB wanted to kill as many foreigners as possible to attract domestic and international attention.”
The militants had recced several places in the city for the attack, said the CTTC chief. “But they chose Holey Artisan as it had a very weak security system and it was frequented by a huge number of foreigners.”
On Monday, police pressed charges against eight people in court in the anti-terrorism case filed over the attack, which was one of the worst in Bangladesh’s history, two years after it took place.
Six of the accused are currently behind bars. The other two are still on the run and reportedly hiding in India.
CTTC Inspector Md Humayun Kabir, also the case investigation officer, submitted the charge sheet to Deputy Commissioner (Crime, Intelligence and Prosecution) of police Mohammad Anisur Rahman of Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court around 3:50pm.
Monirul said investigators found that 21 people were involved in the attack on the restaurant situated in the capital’s diplomatic zone.
But the names of 13 of them, including the five militants who carried out the Holey Artisan attack, have been dropped from the charge sheet as they were killed during different raids and operations across the country.
On the evening of July 1, 2016, five armed terrorists had barged into the upscale Gulshan eatery and killed 20, including 17 foreigners, after taking them hostage. They also shot dead two police officers.
Army commandos killed the terrorists and rescued other hostages after storming the restaurant the next morning.