Closure for Holey Bakery Attack: But Concerns of ISIS Influence Continue
A Dhaka court sentenced seven militants to death for their involvement in the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack. The Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal acquitted one accused as it found him not guilty in the atrocity that left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead in the capital’s Gulshan. Moments after the judge left the courtroom at 12:15pm, some of the convicts shouted “Allahu Akbar”. “You will be judged by Allah in afterlife,” one of them shouted at the judge before they were hauled off to police vans on the court premises.
As soon as a Dhaka court finished delivering judgement in the country’s worst ever terrorist attack case, convict Rakibul Islam alias Regan, who was in the dock, wore the cap emblazoned with the emblem of the Islamic State, a global militant outfit. Rakibul still had the cap on when police brought him out of the courtroom and took him to a prison van parked on the court premises. Inside the van, another death row convict Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi was seen wearing a similar cap as reported by the Daily Star.
The deep rooted influence of the ISIS ideology in Bangladesh may be evident with the Holey Artisan Bakery attack convicts attending the hearings and the court proceedings wearing cap with Islamic State’s insignia. The cap in full public view and the defiance of the court ruling including death sentence with shouting of Islamic slogans in the court premises denotes that the convicts seek to portray a picture of martyrdom in the eyes of the public.
That the convicts were able to obtain the cap with the ISIS mark while they were in jail and carried in police vehicles under strict security denotes that insiders may be involved in passing on the cap to these and this was a well planned move. The counter terrorist forces in Bangladesh thus would have to go into the nuances of potential assistance by insiders as well as the deeper impact of ISIS ideology on a section of the youth including possibly some elements in the security establishment.
The United States has hailed Bangladesh for the verdict in a case over the terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, reiterating its support to fight against terrorism. The verdict “gives some closure” to the families of those who suffered from the “brutal” murders committed on July 1, 2016, the US Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement.