ABID AZAD

Things that make you to Think

Let us not forget to count Saiful’s death at the Dhaka Cafe attack

The relatives of Saiful Choukidar, 40, are still waiting to get his dead body from the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). He was the assistant pizza chef at Holey Artisan Bakery. He was one of the hostages who lost his life on Friday during the terrorist attack.

The terrorists executed 20 hostages, shot two police officers dead and injured at least 20 policemen before a joint raid dubbed “Operation Thunderbolt” brought the siege to an end on Saturday morning.

Six attackers were killed during the combined operation while one was arrested alive. However the police IGP claimed that the five of the attackers had JMB connections while the other’s profile will be confirmed after further investigation.

Among the 20 hostages, nine were Italians, seven were Japanese, one was Indian and three were Bangladeshis.

Several eyewitnesses and victims said five out of the six dead attackers were in their early twenties and were dressed casually.

Athough the police said six attackers had been killed during Operation Thunderbolt, they only provided the names and photos of five attackers: Akash, Bikash, Don, Badhon and Ripon

The confusion began when the police released five pictures of the dead attackers, which included a picture of Saiful dressed in chef’s whites.

Saiful’s death now begs more questions because he does not fit the profile of the attackers, while he did fit the profile of the people the gunmen had spared.

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Ali Arsalan, one of the proprietors of Holey Artisan Bakery said: “It appears Saiful Choukidar, assistant pizza chef is no more. We are searching for the body now.”

There is also the fact that the pictures of the attackers provided by the so-called Islamic State (IS), doesn’t include Saiful’s picture.

Saiful’s cousin, Titu Dewan, said: “My cousin Saiful was employed there for a year. Earlier, he worked in hospitals and had a small business in his village. He lived in Germany for almost ten years and returned home around 2007.”

“When we went to CMH on Saturday evening after the rescue operation, we found Saiful’s dead body but the authorities refused to hand it over. We were surprised when we found his picture included with the attackers,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

Saiful had four siblings, one of his brothers had recently moved to Malaysia as a migrant worker.

“He was a good man, living happily with his wife and two daughters. His wife is now expecting another child. There are no complaints and allegations against him in our village,” he also told the Dhaka Tribune.

Arsalan said: “Saiful was a cheerful employee, we did not notice any negative characteristics about him. On Friday afternoon, when I went to pick up a pizza, he told me that we needed more pizza chefs in our kitchen as the demand was rising.”

Arsalan also mentioned, there were about 20-25 employees on duty at the restaurant, on Friday.

“We request that everyone prays for the victims and especially for Saiful and his family during this difficult time, and that media would refrain from contacting or pressuring the families for speaking at this time. They will need counselling and assistance now and we will do our best,” Arsalan said.

Find the published report link here

Read also Hostage gives harrowing account of the night of Dhaka Cafe attack

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