The heinous massacre at Holey Artisan Bakery two years ago is proof of just how brutal and inhuman militants can be in the name of religion. On that tragic day, they killed 22 persons among whom were nine Italian nationals, seven Japanese, an Indian and five Bangladeshi nationals including two police officers. We convey our deepest condolences to their families.
The Holey Artisan carnage sent waves of alarm though the people of Bangladesh, but it also spurred in a social uprising. This spirit must be kept alive in order to ensure the anti-militant drive a success. That is the lesson taken away from the Holey Artisan incident.
The militants had wanted to bring Bangladesh’s economic advancement to a halt by means of this attack. They wanted to isolate Bangladesh from the rest of the world. Fortunately, their endeavour has failed. The Holey Artisan incident hit Bangladesh hard, but it managed to recover in no time.
After the Twin Tower tragedy, an American expert had said that things before 1/11 and things after the incident would never be the same. Echoing his words, we say that the Bangladesh before the Holey Artisan incident and after is not the same. The people’s uprising against this brutality is the true face of Bangladesh.
The courage displayed by the young Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain in Holey Artisan has set a precedent globally. The militants had been willing to let him go free, but he refused to abandon his two friends who were foreign nationals. The militants killed him along with the others. This sacrifice of Faraaz will remain an inspiration of peace and harmony against militancy.
The countrywide operation against militancy taken up by the government after the Holey Artisan tragedy has thwarted their efforts to a great degree. Many militants have been caught by the law enforcement agencies and many have been killed.
Globally, too, militant groups have been cornered in many places. IS (Islamic State) has been driven out of Syria and Iraq. But there is no room for complacence. They are trying to regroup in Afghanistan and other places.
A report in Prothom Alo yesterday revealed that expatriate militants living abroad are still active and are trying to contact home. It is felt that militants were connected to the recent murder of the publisher in Munishiganj. These militants groups may have been thrown off balance by the operations, but they are trying to reorganise. There is no alternative but to continue the anti-militancy drive as well as an ideological battle against the militants.
Investigation into the Holey Artisan case has not been completed in two years, pointing to the failure of the concerned authorities. Dhaka’s police commissioner has said the charge sheet will be submitted next week. Submitting an investigation report is not enough, it must be accurate and error-free. Criminals are often let off the hook due to unclear or incorrect investigations. Over the last few years several persons have been killed by militants, including Avijit, Dipon and others, but investigations in none of the cases have been completed. This is most unfortunate.
We will not get back those who have been killed in the Holey Artisan incident. But if those involved in the incident behind the scenes can be caught and punished, the bereaved families will at least have some sense of justice. The families of the foreign nationals who were killed will have faith in Bangladesh’s judicial system.