April 14, 2024 03:07:42 booked.net

Fighters Of The Taj Hotel: Why They Risked Their Lives In the 26/11 Attack

On Nov. 26, 2008, terrorists simultaneously attacked about a dozen locations in Mumbai, India, including one of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

For two nights and three days, the Taj was under siege, held by men with automatic weapons who took some people hostage, killed others, and set fire to the famous dome of the hotel.

For two nights and three days, the Taj was under siege, held by men with automatic weapons who took some people hostage, killed others, and set fire to the famous dome of the hotel.

The siege of the Taj quickly became an international story. Lots of people covered it, including CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who grew up in Mumbai. In a report that aired the day after the attacks, Zakaria spoke eloquently about the horror of what had happened in Mumbai, and then pointed to a silver lining: the behavior of the employees at the Taj.

Apparently, something extraordinary had happened during the siege. According to hotel managers, none of the Taj employees had fled the scene to protect themselves during the attack: They all stayed at the hotel to help the guests.

“I was told many stories of Taj hotel employees who made sure that every guest they could find was safely ferreted out of the hotel, at grave risk to their own lives,” Zakaria said on his program.

Fighters Of The Taj Hotel

1. Captain Ravi Dharnidharka

‘Captain Ravi Dharnidharka, the US Marine captain, was no longer looking at the view but was worrying about the great wave of text messages and calls crashing across the room. One of his cousins received a call: Gang fight in Colaba, a couple of blocks away,’ reads an excerpt from the book.

2. Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar

Hemant Karkare, head of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad, was at his home in Dadar on 26 November at 9.45 pm to call about the terror attack. He immediately left for the CST station with his driver and bodyguard. There he came to know that the terrorists were now near Cama Hospital. Along with police officers Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar, Karkare believed the two terrorists to be hiding behind a red car. Eventually, he saw one of the terrorists and managed to injure the only terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, who was caught alive. Still, in exchange for fire with another terrorist in a narrow lane close to the crime branch office, all three police officers were killed.

3. Tukaram Omble

The Mumbai Police, an army ex-soldier, Tukaram Omblay, and his fellow policemen were involved in a shootout in the hijacked car along with two terrorists, one of whom was killed. In the act of incredible courage, Omble grabs the barrel of Kasab’s gun and takes dozens of bullets at point-blank range. Gave time to other police to defeat Kasab. For his supreme sacrifice, Omble was awarded the Ashoka Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award.

4. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

A member of the elite Special Forces, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, made the supreme sacrifice, defending fellow NSG commandos of 51 Special Action Groups and guests and combating terrorists inside the Taj Hotel. He was killed while fighting a terrorist armed with grenades and an AK-47 after being charged alone in a corridor. The ‘Black Cat’ managed to arrest a terrorist and take all the jihadists down to the restaurant, from which no one escaped the security forces’ closure. Major Unnikrishnan was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra.

5. Karambir Singh Kang

Not all heroes wear uniforms. Karambir Singh Kang was the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’s general manager in 2008 when the terrorist attack took place. He helped hundreds of guests and staff escape when the world around them fell drastically, keeping them calm. Although Kang himself survived the attack, his wife and two children did not make it and were killed in a fire going through the sixth floor.