DHAKA, July 4 (Xinhua) — The parents of Faraz Ayaaz Hossain, a student at Emory University in the United States and one of the victims of a merciless terrorist attack at a restaurant in the capital of Bangladesh’s diplomatic Gulshan enclave on Friday night, wept openly at the brutal and senseless loss of their son, at a state memorial ceremony on Monday held in honor of the lives lost in the bloody siege.
Twenty-year-old Hossain, grandson of Latifur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh’s top Transcom Group and owner of the country’s leading dailies the Prothom Alo and Daily Star, was slain by the assailants who stormed the cafe along with his college friend Abinta Kabir.
The Muslim student, who was among the victims of the carnage in Dhaka, refused to abandon his friends Kabir, a Bangladesh born U.S. citizen and Tarishi Jain from India, and was killed alongside others despite being given a chance to leave the Spanish Holey Artisan Bakery — the scene of Bangladesh’s worst hostage crisis involving militants.
Parents of Kabir whose family owns a popular retail outlet, Lavender Super Store, and a large business premises, and have investments in textiles and apparel, were also overcome with emotion during the ceremony at the loss of their young child.
Tears were also shed by the relatives and friends of the victims from Italy and Japan who also attended the ceremony to pay their respects at the scene.
The deep pain and sorrow in the faces of the victims’ families and friends was palpable, particularly as ambulances began to slowly depart the scene carrying the bodies of the deceased.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the bodies to the relatives of the victims, with many in attendance, none more so than the relatives of the deceased, wailing loudly in the knowledge that their loved ones had been taken too early in the most savage of ways and would never be returning.
In the crisis that unfolded over some 13-hours, 20 hostages, mostly foreign nationals, were slaughtered by the militants who stormed the cafe heavily armed with guns, explosives and sharp weapons.
Despite the rain, relatives and friends of the victims and people from all walks of life flocked to the ceremony to pay their last respects at the state ceremony.
Hasina, her cabinet members and envoys of the victims countries, among other dignitaries, also paid their respects to the victims.
The families of the deceased, friends and diplomats, all wearing black badges, packed the ceremony as part of a two-day mourning program announced by the government. All of them were still visibly shaken and in a state of deep shock.
Hasina placed a floral wreath near the caskets of the victims at around 10:00 a.m. local time during the ceremony.
Hasina also held a minute’s silence to honor the victims, after a wreath was placed on behalf of President Md Abdul Hamid, who is now in Bhutan on a state visit.
The caskets were placed on a raised platform which bore the flags of India, Italy, Bangladesh, Japan and the United States, in recognition of the nationalities of the hostages killed.
Envoys of India, Italy, the U.S and Japan also paid their respects during the ceremony.
Diplomats from many other countries also placed floral wreaths near the caskets of the victims of Friday’s attack, the first such hostage crisis Bangladesh has witnessed.
Afterwards, the ceremony was opened up to the relatives and general public to pay their tributes.
Nine Italians, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis, an Indian and a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen were among the 20 people hacked to death by the terrorists who burst into the restaurant on Friday night.
Seven gunmen armed with blades, guns and bombs also murdered two Bangladesh police officers in the early hours of the attack.
Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by the so-called Islamic State militant group, with six of the gunmen being killed as special forces and police brought the siege to an end and one being captured and detained alive.
Grief and disbelief not only struck the relatives of the deceased, but the entire Bangladesh nation after the news broke, with local people still in a deep state of shock and mourning.
The whole country has been observing a national period of mourning for the victims from Sunday to Monday with the national flag flying at half-mast across the country.
Over the last few days candle-lit vigils have been held across Dhaka and in other places, in commemoration of the victims.