Gulshan eateries bear brunt of Holey Artisan terror attack

Gunmen barged into the eatery, frequented by foreigners and well-to-do locals, on the night of Jul 1 and took many diners hostage.

Suspected Islamist militants killed 20 hostages- nine Italians, seven Japanese, an Indian and three Bangladeshis.

Army commandos stormed the cafe the next morning and rescued 13 hostages. Authorities said six attackers were killed during the raid and one had been captured alive.

Eateries at the upscale neighbourhood have been hit hard since the attack.

The number of guests at restaurants and hotels has fallen substantially, and convention centre have had bookings cancelled as organisers have postponed events.

Gulshan residents say that they are still in panic and outsiders are not coming unless they have to.

"People from other areas are not coming to the restaurants and shopping malls here. No one is coming unless it's urgent," said Rafez Alam Chowdhury, a resident of Gulshan.

The 'Village' restaurant at the Gulshan south avenue used to be crowded with locals and foreigners, but on Tuesday, it seemed like a haunted house.

"We have a capacity to serve 300 guests. Before the attack, we served almost 70 percent of the capacity every day. Now it's not even 20 percent," said Manager Mehedi Hasan.

"We have boosted security, but still it's not like before. We have stopped buffet lunch and are not even taking reservations for parties," he said.

The coffee-shops have also lost business.

Security precautions have been heightened at the Gulshan outlet of Gloria Jean's Coffees. Everyone is being extensively searched before they are let in.

Security precautions have been heightened at the Gulshan outlet of Gloria Jean's Coffees. Everyone is being extensively searched before they are let in.

"We are not having foreigners at all since the attack. The influx of locals even went down," said Ataur Rahman, who works for North End Coffee, popular among coffee lovers in Dhaka.

Baridhara residents Shahriar Ahmed and Hridee Reza, who came to the coffee shop, said they are now going out less.

"Everyone is scared. Our friends also do not hangout much since the attack," said Ahmed.

The 'Cafe Droom' at Banani usually bustles with guests in the evening, but that is not the case now.

"We had guests from other areas apart from the local residents. But now you have to cross several police check-posts before coming to this area," said Manager Abu Bakar Siddique.

A Banani resident, who was at the restaurant, however, said that he was not at all ready to confine himself at his home.

"There is a panic, but we can't just stop going out," he said, asking not to be named.

Abdur Rahman, who lives in Banani, was found dining with his family at another restaurant on Tuesday. "We are scared. You never know what happens."

Meanwhile, convention centres at Gulshan are also facing cancellation of bookings.

Sixteen events have been held between Jul 7 and 18 at the Spectra Convention Centre in Gulshan and organisers of nine events cancelled their programmes, said Manager Md Arif Shikdar.

"We have taken adequate security measures, but things will not change until the people regain confidence," he told bdnews24.com.

An official of the Dhaka Regency Hotel said that the US embassy has cancelled a scheduled seminar.

He said that more than 1,000 rooms had been reserved in different hotels for participants of the conference on money laundering and telecommunications.

Preferring anonymity, he said that eight out of the 10 scheduled events at the Dhaka Regency Hotel have been postponed and two have been cancelled.

"Programmes at hotels like us mostly involve foreigners. If they do not come, what's the point?"

Police, however, say that they have take all 'necessary steps' to ensure security.

"We have increased surveillance. Patrol teams are working round the clock. We are consulting with managements of hotels and restaurants," said Deputy Commissioner Moshtak Ahmed.

Source: Bangladesh' First Internet Newspaper