Dhaka cafe at­tack ‘mas­ter­mind’ killed

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Reuters let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Bangladesh se­cu­rity forces killed three Is­lamist mil­i­tants on Satur­day, in­clud­ing a Bangladesh-born Cana­dian ci­ti­zen ac­cused of mas­ter­mind­ing an at­tack on a cafe in Dhaka last month that killed 22 peo­ple, mostly for­eign­ers, po­lice said.

The mil­i­tants were cor­nered in a hide­out on the out­skirts of Dhaka and, hav­ing re­fused to sur­ren­der, were killed in the en­su­ing gun­bat­tle, Monirul Is­lam, the head of the Dhaka po­lice coun­tert­er­ror­ism unit, said.

US sec­re­tary of state John Kerry is due to visit on Mon­day to dis­cuss se­cu­rity af­ter a se­ries of killings tar­get­ing lib­er­als.

Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the as­sault on the cafe in a posh neigh­bour­hood where mil­i­tants sin­gled out nonMus­lims and for­eign­ers, killing Ital­ians, Ja­panese, an Amer­i­can and an In­dian.

The gov­ern­ment has con­sis­tently de­nied the pres­ence in the coun­try of any transna­tional mil­i­tant or­gan­i­sa­tion such as al Qaeda or Is­lamic State. But po­lice be­lieve that Ja­maat-ulMu­jahideen Bangladesh, which has pledged al­le­giance to Is­lamic State, was in­volved in or­gan­is­ing the cafe at­tack.

The sus­pected mas­ter­mind killed in the raid was iden­ti­fied as Tamim Ahmed Chowd­hury, a 30-year-old Cana­dian ci­ti­zen born in Bangladesh. An­a­lysts say Is­lamic State in April iden­ti­fied Chowd­hury as its na­tional com­man­der. Bangladesh po­lice­men take away the bod­ies of sus­pected mil­i­tants af­ter a raid in Narayan­ganj, near Dhaka, on Satur­day.

Trans­port com­mis­sioner Pravin Gedam called an ur­gent meet­ing of the lead­ers of taxi and au­torick­shaw unions at noon on Sun­day to avert a pro­posed strike against app-based taxi ag­gre­ga­tors such as Ola and Uber from Mon­day.

Mum­bai has around 40,000 black-and-yel­low cabs and around one lakh auto rick­shaws.

Fed up of be­ing turned down by taxi and auto driv­ers and the poor con­di­tion of their ve­hi­cles, sev­eral Mum­baikars have switched to ser­vices such as Ola and Uber, which be­gan op­er­a­tions in Mum­bai in mid2014 and now ac­count for more than 25,000 taxis in the city.

Although the ma­jor­ity of taxi and au­torick­shaw unions said they won’t par­tic­i­pate in the pro­posed strike, the ag­i­tat­ing unions — Jai Bha­ga­van Ma­hasangh and Swab­hi­man Taxi and Rick­shaw Sang­hatana — are firm on their de­ci­sion.

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