Restaurant owners struggle in Dhaka after ISIL attack

Restaurant owners in the Bangladeshi capital say businesses are struggling as cautious residents avoid dining out.

A few months ago, getting a reservation at Taste of Lanka, a busy restaurant in the heart of the Bangladeshi capital was close to an impossible task.

But when a group of gunmen stormed a cafe popular with the young, the middle classes and foreigners on July 1, everything changed.

In a well coordinated assault, six gunmen walked into the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s upmarket Gulshan neighbourhood and took several people hostage.

During a 10-hour siege, the men, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), started posting photos on social media of what they said were dead foreigners.

Inside Story – Bangladesh’s new reality

The attack would later become one of the deadliest in Bangladesh’s history, with 20 foreign hostages killed, many of them hacked to death.

More than a month later, Taste of Lanka, which had a big foreign customer base, is empty for much of the evening.

“I was just telling my husband, why don’t we get a bulletproof car?” Nusrat Zaman, one of the few customers daring to eat out told Al Jazeera.

“That would be much better. Our car is not bulletproof,” she said, jokingly.

With many fearing to venture out, food delivery companies such as Go Fetch are seeing a surge in business.

“We take security pretty seriously,” Farhan Rahman, the founder of Go Fetch, told Al Jazeera.

“The guys that we work with, the delivery men that we have, they’re all our own people, they’re all vetted, they’re all coming in through referrals.”

READ MORE: ISIL targets tourism

Violence has spiked in Bangladesh in the past 18 months with a spate of attacks, often using machetes, against individuals including liberals, gays, foreigners and members of religious minorities.

ISIL has claimed many of those killings but the government has denied their involvement and instead points the finger at local groups. 

Source : Al Jazeera


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