A UC Berkeley student was among about 20 killed in terrorist attacks in Bangladesh that began Friday.
Campus sophomore Tarishi Jain, an Indian national, was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, completing an internship with UC Berkeley’s Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies. She is confirmed to have been killed by Islamic militants at a restaurant in Dhaka.
Gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe Friday evening, holding hostages for 11 hours before Bangladeshi troops entered. The 20 killed were brutally hacked with sharp weapons.
“We are all very devastated to hear the news about Tarishi Jain,” said Sanchita Saxena, executive director of the Institute for South Asia Studies and director of the center for Bangladesh studies, according to a campus statement. “She was a smart and ambitious young woman with a big heart. Our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and the entire Berkeley community.”
The night of the attacks, Jain and other interns were originally planning to go see the movie “Finding Dory,” according to Amena Jannat, a fourth-year UC Berkeley student who was interning with her on the same program. When plans changed, Jain went to dinner with friends in the Gulshan district, an upscale area in Dhaka where foreigners typically congregate, instead.
Jannat found out about Jain’s death by scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed about 12 hours after the attacks occurred.
“The night Tarishi was killed is a very auspicious night, it’s a night of prayers, a lot of people pray that night to get their wishes to come true — it’s the most important day,” Jannat said. “For her to be killed in that day, people were just baffled by it, and I was just perplexed that it could have happened. The fact that it happened on Ramadan is disheartening.”
Jain played a significant role in the International Students Association at Berkeley and was also involved in EthiCAL, a group that creates clothing for those in poverty to enable them to start their own businesses. According to friends, she was driven in school and dedicated toward making a difference on campus and in the greater community.
“She was a very motivated and passionate girl, always full of life and not to mention, very hard working,” said Apoorva Arya, a friend of Jain and floormate during her freshman year.
Jain’s father is a textile merchant based in Dhaka and was among those waiting outside the restaurant for news about the hostages, according to the campus release.
Jain, an intended economics major, graduated from the American International School of Dhaka and began her studies at UC Berkeley in 2015.
Arya, who had been messaging Jain around the time of the attacks, called Jain’s death “one of the greatest shocks” she had ever received.
“I saw the news around midnight and immediately messaged her to check in and hoping her family was okay. And now it’s just a message I’ll never get a reply to,” Arya said. “I’d never imagined that she would be taken hostage and killed.”
The ASUC will be holding a vigil and memorial for the campus Tuesday on the steps of Sproul Plaza at noon.
Contact Cassandra Vogel and Suhauna Hussain at [email protected].