One of Dhaka gunmen a Monash University Malaysia student; met Bollywood star Shraddha Kapoor: Reports

A photo of Nibras Islam, one of the Bangladesh gunmen who helped attack the Dhaka cafe where 20 hostages were brutally killed on July 2.
A photo of Nibras Islam, one of the Bangladesh gunmen who helped attack the Dhaka cafe where 20 hostages were brutally killed on July 2. PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Young, smart and with boyish good looks, Nibras Islam came from a wealthy family and had a penchant for Bollywood.

He also enjoyed a wide following of friends at a private university here where he studied commerce after arriving from Dhaka in 2012.

No one could have guessed that the Bangladeshi, in his early 20s, would be brainwashed into the blood-thirsty terrorist who helped attack the Dhaka cafe where 20 hostages were brutally killed on Saturday .

Although the authorities have not officially released the names of the seven attackers, Bangladeshi newspapers The Daily Star and Dhaka Tribune confirmed that he was one of the assailants. Nibras was initially identified by social media users.

Six of the seven attackers were shot dead and a photo, believed to be of Nibras' bloodied body on the ground, was widely circulated.

Terrorist groups also released mugshots of the attackers, which included that of Nibras.

 

"It's definitely him," said a fellow Bangladeshi, who knew the youth, on social media.

He said he never expected Nibras to end up like this because he did not seem to be interested in politics, was not outwardly religious and was "not the violent type".

 

Nibras is believed to have studied in an English-medium school in Dhaka and later enrolled at an expensive private university in Bangladesh before coming to study in Malaysia.

Web portal India Today reported that he was a student at Monash University Malaysia. The New Straits Times cited a source as saying Malaysian police were investigating the claim.

Checks showed that his tweets since 2014 had an emotional slant to them, indicating relationship complications.

India Today reported that he was into Bollywood and one video posted on his Facebook page shows him shaking hands with Bollywood star Shraddha Kapoor. "Shraddha Kapoor you beauty," he captioned it. 

On his Facebook page, which was taken down on Sunday, Nibras wrote about the war in the Middle East and said that "there must be peace there" and that life was important.


PHOTO: NIBRAS ISLAM / FACEBOOK 

There was also a picture of the lanky youth playing futsal, which was his Facebook cover image.

It was reported that the assailants were believed to have gone missing months before the attack and international reports stated that Nibras was uncontactable since January.

 

A Bangladeshi lecturer, who has been in Malaysia for more than two decades but never knew Nibras, said the Bangladeshi community here strongly denounced the violence.

"We condemn the attacks and are in shock," he said, adding that Bangladeshis studying here have a positive image of Malaysia and its education system.

The lecturer hoped that there would not be any repercussions against these students.

Bangladesh police released images of the assailants' bodies and five short names of the attackers - Akash, Bikash, Don, Badhon and Ripon - but did not give much details beyond that. Also, it is likely those names may not be accurate.

SITE intelligence group, a terrorist tracker organisation, has put out five images allegedly of the attackers, standing in front of what resembles the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There is no official verification yet by Bangladesh police linking those images to the attackers.

Bangladesh police told Reuters on Monday they were trying to confirm the names of the attackers. Masudur Rahman, deputy police commissioner of Dhaka police, said police will check pictures of the suspects against the bodies, interview families and conduct DNA tests.

According to reports, Bangladesh police tried to arrest five of the attackers previously but were unsuccessful.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Dhaka attack, but Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan denied that the militant group had any role in the attack.

He said the killers were members of the homegrown militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).