Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery to shut down

Dhaka, Nov 15 (IANS) The Holey Artisan Bakery and O’ Kitchen restaurant in Dhaka, which was attacked in July by a jihadist group, will close its doors forever, its owner said on Tuesday.

The restaurant-cum-bakery, popularly known as just Holey and specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, had been cordoned off by the police since the attack on July 1 left 22 persons, including 18 foreigners, dead.

“We will reopen the cafe but not here. Rather we are thinking of converting this into a house and live here,” Sadat Mehedi, one of the owners, told EFE news.

Mehedi said the cafe will reopen in another part of the diplomatic zone where the original cafe was located.

“We are not going to close our business,” Mehedi said.

“Those who used to come here, many of them were our friends. This is the least we can do to show them respect. If we live here we think they will come again,” added Mehedi, who is considering the possibility of building a memorial for the victims of the attack in the future.

According to Mehedi, the police allowed them to return to the building on Sunday after a court order.

During the end of the month of Ramadan, five jihadists belonging to a group who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State entered the restaurant and killed 9 Italians, 7 Japanese and an Indian national, after torturing them when they failed to recite the Quran.

The attack, considered one of the bloodiest attacks in the history of Bangladesh, lasted 12 hours and ended after security forces intervened, killing four of the terrorists, all believed to be between 20-30 years of age, and capturing the fifth alive.

The two Argentinian chefs of the restaurant survived the attack, one because he was overseas and the other, who escaped by jumping from the roof.

Bangladesh has been witnessing a spate of jihadist killings that have claimed over 70 lives since 2013, including bloggers, thinkers, members of religious minorities and foreigners.