by Soheib Ahsan
6:32pm, 4th July, 2016
‘I am afraid and not sure whether I will be able to come out alive. They are killing everyone here’ – the last words of a daughter to her father before she was killed by terrorists in Dhaka.
Sanjiv Jain was excited about the coming week. His son had just returned from college in Canada and his daughter would also be returning soon from Bangladesh from an Internship. With his wife and kids he would go to Firozabad where he would meet his brothers and they would have a lovely happy family reunion. Sanjiv’s plan fell apart after a phone call from his daughter.
Tarishi Jain, an undergraduate economics student at the University of California. She was a recipient of an internship with a Bangladesh bank through the Institute for South Asia studies at her university in California. On the night of Sunday, she called her father to tell him that she was hiding in Holey Artisan bakery’s washroom with her friends to hide from some heavily armed terrorists. ‘I am afraid and not sure whether I will be able to come out alive. They are killing everyone here’. Those were her last words to her father before her death. After the phone conversation with his daughter, Sanjiv gathered with dozens of anxious family and friends inside Gulshan café to know how the incident would end. By the time the terrorists were neutralized, 20 people including Tarishi were dead.
Image source : financialexpress.com
Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the attackers belonged to homegrown outfits like JMB (Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh). Pakistan’s ISI has a strong connection with the JMB, their aim being to derail the current government. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of the hostages. The army managed to kill six attackers and captured the last one alive. The attackers were aged between 20-28 years and were well educated and came from rich families. All of them were students and communicated at the crime scene in Bengali and English. Three of the five attackers have been identified by former classmates.
The gunmen did a religion check of the captives by asking them to recite Quranic verses and tortured the ones who could not. Most of the killed were found with their throats slit. The hostages who were killed included Tarishi Jain, 9 Italians, 7 Japanese, an American of Bangladeshi origin and two Bangldeshis. Among the rescued were Indian, Sri Lankan and Japanese nationals. Around 30 people were injured.
Image source : indianexpress.com
The incident has left the entire country and many others in a state of apprehension and sorrow. Many families lost their loved ones because they were not Muslim. Murder committed in the name of a religion that forbids killing of innocents and teaches its followers to respect every religion be it their own or any other. We live in a world where religion is used to justify brutal and unnecessary violence. What is the point of religion if it preaches violence over peace? Our hearts go out for the victims of the siege and to their families. May the survivors have a speedy recovery.
Let us all remember that no religion preaches murder and terrorism is a disease that every religion must fight against as one. Let there be no more of Dhaka like attacks anywhere.