DHAKA: The two survivors of the Gulshan restaurant attack “detained” for any possible link to the July 1 attack are still with investigators.
They have not been arrested or produced before a court. Law enforcers claim that they are under surveillance.
Of the two, Tahmid Hasib Khan is a student of a university in Toronto. He came home a day before the attack.
The other, Hasnat Karim, is a former teacher at North South University (NSU), a leading private university in Bangladesh.
Tahmid went to the restaurant with two female students of a private university. The girls were from the same university that one of the attackers studied in.
Tahmid was seen standing near the door of the café with a firearm, said Detective Branch (DB) police sources.
Tahmid’s father, Fazle Rahim Khan Shariar, claimed that his son was innocent. He said he had gone to the DB office on Tuesday to give his son some fresh clothes and a toothbrush.
Tahmid studies Life Science and his return home was a surprise for the family, he said, adding that Tahmid was also a cultural activist.
Hasnat, who holds British citizenship, was seen smoking on the roof of the cafe in an amateur video.
Two attackers were seen behind him but he did not seem to be a hostage of theirs.
He was allowed to leave the restaurant with his family members prior to the commando operation.
“It is a sensational case. So, we have been verifying all the information before framing the case,” said an investigator wishing anonymity. “We have been talking to other survivors about their roles.”
Hasnat’s father, engineer Rezaul Karim, believed that his son too was innocent. He said his son was still in DB custody.
“I wanted to meet him, but police officials said he was being interrogated,” Rezaul told The Daily Star.
Belal Ahmed, spokesperson for the NSU, said Hasnat joined the university as a full-time business faculty member in 2008.
In August 2012, he wanted to become a part-time teacher so that he could look after his father’s businesses.
With his request under process, he worked as a part-time teacher since the first semester of 2013.
Later, he quit the university.
Asked whether he was fired for his involvement in militant outfit Hizb-ut Tahrir, the NSU official said Hasnat was not among the four teachers sacked for their involvement with the outfit.
Belal said Nibras Islam, one of the five suspected Gulshan cafe attackers, was a student of the business faculty in 2011 and he had completed only three semesters.
The five Gulshan cafe attackers were among around a dozen youths who were missing and suspected to have joined a militant group, said a DB official.
Some of the missing ones were from well-off families and sons of former civil servants, said the official, wishing anonymity. “We suspect they have joined a militant group and are undergoing training in militant attack.”
Three of the suspected Holey Artisan attackers – Nibras, Rohan Imtiaz and Meer Saameh Mubasheer – were from well-off families and went to private English-medium schools.
Of the two other suspected attackers, Khairul Islam Payel was a madrasah student, while Shafiqul Islam Ujjal was a graduate and a kindergarten teacher. Both were from Bogra.
All of the five were missing for several months.
According to Reuters, Nibras followed only 10 Twitter accounts, one of which was @ShamiWitness, an influential handle run by Islamic State propagandist Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who was arrested in the Indian city of Bangalore last year.
He liked a tweet by Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s most high-profile Islamist preachers, that was critical of France and its allies and was posted in January, 2015, shortly after the deadly militant attack on the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
Two months before that, he had tweeted: “Goodbye for good”. — The Daily Star/Asia News Network