Islamist terror monsters are transforming cafes into slaughterhouses in our next-door neighbour’s courtyard, and it is as if we can smell the fresh blood in our own living rooms. Friday’s violence in Dhaka’s upscale Holey Artisan Cafe has announced the arrival of Islamist State militants in Asia, and how!
The assaulters are not unknown men, seeking revenge for their people killed in Syria or Iraq. Reports say five of the seven militants were young Bangladeshi lads, hailing from affluent families, educated in well-known private institutions. It’s beyond the nation’s worst nightmare that sons from the soil yielded guns to take on the state police and butcher innocent foreigners and Bangladeshis alike.
Holey Artisan cafe was targeted on a Friday on the holy month of Ramzan, where unsuspecting foreigners had aggregated to meet over coffee. The assailants choose to slit the throats of its 22 hostages although they carried guns. The monstrosity is diabolic; they didn’t even spare a 33-year-old foreigner victim, who was seven months pregnant.
That the attackers spared anybody who could recite the Quran is the biggest act that the assailants played for the global audience. They were locals; they would know who was a Bangladeshi, and who was not. They would speak to the cafe staff in Bangla, their native language. May be the men were totally taken over the drama, and they felt like Rambos albeit in the most sinister way, holding on to their metallic killing machines.
It’s tragic that in spite of the vastness of the tragedy Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina prefers to live in her cocoon. This is in spite of the fact that there’s been a blitz of ISIS propaganda targeted at Bangladesh and photographs of the alleged attackers posing in front of a black ISIS flag. The PM still denies that the ISIS had any hand in the massacre; it is rather the handiwork of local groups.
Sheikh Hasina should have taken into account the 40 murders that have happened in Bangladesh in the past two years. Islamist Extremism has been on the rise in her state where secularist bloggers, teachers, gay activists and minorities have been hacked to death in broad daylight in crowded market places.
In the past six months there have been 14 attacks on minorities and activists, out of whom, seven are Hindu priests. Majority of these attacks had been claimed by local Islamic extremist organisations who have stated their affiliation to the Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Bangladesh has been a fertile breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.
In 2014, a radical Islamic group by the name of “Defenders of Islam” published a list of 84 Bangladeshi secularists, out of which nine have already been killed. And yet the government strongly believes that the onslaughts were carried out by local groups with a political vendetta. Even now, despite IS staking claim for the attack, said the attackers were members of the banned Jamatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) that has been banned for more than a decade.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said three of the six gunmen killed were under 22 years of age and had been missing for six months, around the same time. Their friends and parents had posted on Facebook about them going missing. Friends and former classmates have so far identified three of them. One of the attacker’s father is said to be a Dhaka Awami League leader.
There has been a steady outward flow of elite Bangladeshis to join ISIS network. Most of them are the kind who belonged inside the cafe. Estimates by Bangladeshi intelligence services suggest over a hundred young men have travelled outside already with similar motives.
India can’t afford to sit still when it’s evident that the next knock from terror could be us. Keeping our eyes closed on an imminent attack could be the end of us.