NEW DELHI — One was about to enter business school. Another brought an international outlook to the halls of Berkeley. And the last, while being a U.S. citizen, claimed Dhaka as home.
All three died in Dhaka during Friday’s brutal terrorist attack at a popular restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital.
Officials at the University of California at Berkeley and Emory University in Atlanta confirmed Saturday that they had lost students in the attack. Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain were enrolled as undergraduates at Emory’s Oxford College, and Tarishi Jain was studying economics at the San Francisco-area school.
Jain, the lone Indian citizen to die in the terrorist attack, had been under stress in recent months because of a foot injury, relatives said. It was not healing as quickly as the Berkeley student had expected, and the pain had returned.
“When I got a call at dawn today about her death in Bangladesh, my first thought was, ‘Oh, poor girl, she could not even have run and saved herself,’ ” said Shirish Jain, 45, a cousin of Tarishi’s who lives in a New Delhi suburb. “She has been in a lot of pain of late.”
Jain’s family had moved to Dhaka from Singapore less than a decade ago, and her father set up a flourishing garment manufacturing and export business. But they remained Indian citizens.
Just months ago, her cousin recalled, Jain was regaling her relatives with stories of her Berkeley experiences during a family visit to India. She was a member of the International Students Association at the university.
“She was a vivacious girl. She had an international outlook and was ambitious,” Shirish Jain said. “The entire extended family got together for lunch when they came. I remember she was so cheerful and chirpy.”
Indians learned of Jain’s death when the minister for external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted Saturday: “I am extremely pained to share that the terrorists have killed Tarushi, an Indian girl who was taken hostage in the terror attack in Dhaka.”
According to the Times of India website on Sunday, her uncle in the northern Indian town of Ferozabad said Jain had called her father from inside the restaurant in Dhaka during the attack.
“She said, ‘I’m hiding in the toilet with friends, I think we will be killed one by one,” Rakesh Mohan Jain said.
“ ‘I am very afraid and not sure whether I will be able to come out alive. They are killing everyone here,’ she said,” according to the report.
Shirish Jain had read about the attack before going to sleep Friday.
“I immediately thought of my family in Dhaka, but I never imagined that my own family would be affected like this,” she said. “Our mind doesn’t think like that, you know. We know there are terrorist attacks all over the world. But it has now come to our home. It has come too close.”
Faraaz Hossain was a native of Dhaka. Not much else is known other than that he had graduated from Oxford College and was a rising junior entering Emory’s Goizueta Business School.
The other Emory student, Abinta Kabir, 18, was from Miami, but on Facebook she described herself as being “from Dhaka.” She was a sophomore at Oxford College.
Earlier postings depict her as a student at the American International School Dhaka and a member of the girls basketball team there. In April 2015, she posted a “senior photo” of herself, along with the words: “Where did the time go?”
Other Facebook posts suggest that the three knew one another, which may have led to their presence at the restaurant in Dhaka.
In an email posted on the Emory website, the school’s president, James Wagner, wrote that he was able to reach Kabir’s mother, who was in “unspeakable pain.”
“Please, as you are inclined, direct your kindest thoughts and sincerest prayers in her behalf and that of her family,” Wagner wrote. “As for our Emory family, we will be remembering Abinta in the fall, I am sure, as the family directs and is comfortable.”
Holley reported from Washington.