Prosecution witness Sirajul Islam, who was the officer-in-charge of Gulshan Police Station on July 1, 2016, gave a vivid description of the Holey Artisan cafe attack in the capital’s Gulshan before a Dhaka court yesterday.
Sirajul, now assistant commissioner (Chawkbazar zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told the court that he learnt about the attack from an unknown number around 8:45pm and asked the on-duty policemen over phone to take initiatives immediately.
“When I, along with other policemen, reached the spot, we found SI Faruk lying on the ground with injuries. At one stage, militants threw grenades at us and some of us were critically injured,” he said.
“Later, I found OC [of Banani Police Station] Salauddin Khan and AC Robiul Karim [of DB] lying on the street near the cafe,” he said.
“My two legs were severely injured in the grenade explosion and SI Mahbub tied the wounds with his T-shirt to stop the bleeding. I was rushed to United Hospital unconscious,” he said, adding, “I still have grenade splinters in my body.”
Another witness Sub-Inspector Sumon Kumar Kunda, of the counter terrorism unit, told the court that the militants hurled grenades at them and opened fire on them as soon as a police team, including him, reached the spot.
“Different parts of my body were wounded as I was hit by splinters and I fell on the ground. Later, I was rescued by my fellow men and admitted to United Hospital,” he said.
“Hearing about the militant attack, a police team, led by AC Jahangir Hasan, went near the gate of the Holey Artisan Bakery. Two or three minutes later, the militants hurled grenades at us. I was seriously injured. Around nine splinters hit my body,” said SI Md Nuruzzaman, of the counter terrorism unit.
On August 8, 2017, a police team, led by Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mannan of the counter terrorism unit, arrested Abdur Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahmud from a mango orchard in Chapainawabganj’s Shibganj upazila in connection with the café attack case, said SI Ashraful Haque Babu, of the unit.
Besides the four, seven others -- Inspector Khan Nurul Islam, Inspector Md Shahidullah, Inspector Abdur Rahim, SI Nasir Uddin, ASI Gobinda Das, ASI Aminul Islam and constable Manik Babu -- also testified before the court.
Judge Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal recorded their statements. Later, lawyers of the accused cross-examined the witnesses.
During yesterday’s hearing, eight accused in the case were produced before the court. Prosecution witness SI Babu also identified Abdur Sabur Khan among the accused before the court.
The court set August 6 for the next hearing in the case.
With yesterday’s 11 prosecution witnesses, 85 testified before the court.
On July 1, 2016, armed militants stormed the café and killed 20 hostages, mostly foreign nationals. Two police officials were also killed during the 12-hour standoff.
On July 23 this year, Inspector Humayun Kabir of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit submitted the charge sheet to the chief metropolitan magistrate of Dhaka, accusing eight people for the attack and naming 211 as prosecution witnesses.
On November 26 last year, the tribunal framed charges against the eight.