Dhaka attack: A survivor’s statement
Indian national Sat Prakash gave a statement to the court on July 26 on his survival and experience from the Gulshan café attack. For our readers we are reproducing the statement unedited:
“It was Friday. I decided to go to Holey Artisan Bakery. I went there by my car, parked the car there. I went inside at 8:30 pm. I sat on table, which is at the front facing corner table.
Meantime, I called a friend named Tanmoy. He said he do not have food but will join me later. I ordered pasta and orange juice. They served me bread and sausage as complimentary. I was waiting for my friend.
Suddenly I found two/three guys locking or pushing the main restaurant gate. At the time, I heard sound which appeared to me as sound of crackers. Suddenly, six/seven people were rushing towards the restaurant. I got up from my chair and was in a fix.
Immediately I heard gun shot and saw a guy fall down. At the same time, I heard the slogan Allah – hu – Akbar. I tried to hide myself behind a tomb. Within seconds, I saw a guy running with hands on his face. There was blood on his face.
He looked like a person from far east countries like Japan, China, Korea. I was thinking about leaving the place by any possible means. There was a Sri Lankan couple, whom I knew before, who came behind the tomb to hide themselves. I saw through a window that one of the attackers was hitting a lying person with a sharp object. I turned my eyes immediately.
Soon after the couple came, one of the attackers appeared and said “don’t hide, we are not going to harm you. You are not safe here, come out immediately”. We came out following the instruction. The same guy asked us not to use mobile phone.
I gave my mobile phone to him and the Sri Lankan couple (female) threw the bag. It took place near the [illegible] … The attacker said, rather asked me, “Are you Bangali”. I said “Yes, Ami Bangali [the witness can speak Bangla a bit and can understand most of the Bangla conversations].
The attacker asked to lie down in Bangla. I lied down but the Sri Lankan couple was still standing. Then the attacker (with a gun) asked me to go inside and sit with other Bangladeshi people. He made me sit on a chair with my head down on the table.
There were two girls hiding themselves under the table. The attacker asked them to come out and sit beside me. Since I was not able to bend my head fully on the table, someone hit on my head.
These girls and a young guy were pleading to the attackers to spare them. The attacker replied “We will not harm you if you are not Kafer to us.” They were saying that they will do no harm to the people who are not Kafers.
One of the attackers said in English that “Do you guys know that how our Muslim brothers and sisters are getting tortured and killed in Syria.” They were talking in both the language, English and Bangla. I could hear that one of the attackers was talking with a young guy about Islam (Later I knew that the young guy’s name is Tahmid).
They asked us to receive phone calls. I turned my phone off. One attacker asked me if I knew anyone from media or police. I replied with no. One of girls responded hearing that and made a call to her mother on loud speaker. She said “Ammu taratari Benjir uncle ke bolo ami ekhane (Gulshane) atke achi [Mother tell Benjir uncle that I am stuck here in Gulshan].” Her mother was unaware about the incident at that time.
Then another phone rang, a guy sitting across me talked in loudspeaker (later I found him as Hasnat). I can not recall the conversation.
After that they allowed us to drink water and eat muffin. They also allowed us to use the bathroom. While I was going to bathroom I saw a women lying in the beginning of the stairs. I just turned my face off.
After sometime I heard that the attackers are asking staff of the restaurant to pursue the person who is in the kitchen to open the kitchen. The staff was assuring the inside guy that the attackers do not harm Bangalis.
Thereafter, the attacker after an initial failure managed to open the refrigerator and found two persons inside. One of them was a staff of the restaurant and another was Japanese (was speaking in Japanese language).
They let the Bangali to sit with others and shot the Japanese. They were asking the Japanese whether he is alive. The Japanese replied with yes. The guy shot him again. They, before shooting, asked us to cover our ears and to cover children’s faces.
At some point. I could hear… a female voice moaning in pain and the guy chopping and saying “mohila mortese na” [The woman is not dying].
I saw them putting two big gas cylinders on the two sides of the glass doors. They were using mobile phone, tablets, laptops. They were reading news from mobile and laughing with saying that “Earlier they used to call us terrorist, now they call us militants, don’t know what they are going to call us tomorrow.”
At one point, they (attackers) read out a massage loudly in Bangla language. The message was about congratulating them for their actions. It was a big message. I could not recollect all of that but it was about that they have done a very good job, their brothers are very proud of them.
After that they served sehri. I had a bite to avoid any doubt.
After sehri, they asked us again to put our heads down on the table. I can hardly recollect at some point. I heard someone giving instructions that two guys (attackers) will be up stairs, two will be downstairs and one will be doing something. I could not recollect.
Later, they asked two guys (pointing at them) to come with them (attackers). I saw them taking stairs. After some time they returned and sat beside me with their heads down. At that time I saw only attackers were moving around. I found the bald headed guy (Hasnat) was opening the front door.
I, with all others, got up and they asked us to stretch. Suddenly, I saw one guy (attacker) was giving Holy Quran to Tahmid but he refused to take. I decided to take it. They allowed us to have our phones back (lying on table) and we started walking out of the restaurant."
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