Thursday, November 27, 2008

Live Blog: Mumbai Under Siege I

9.55 a.m.

I am blogging this as the television keeps playing news about what is being called India's 9/11, as the television behind me plays repeated images about what happened as I was fast asleep last night. I had passed through VT station barely one hour before terrorists entered and fired indiscriminately at the passengers. Shows no one is immune to terrorism these days. Terrorism has become real, very real.  

The heritage structure of the Taj Mahal Hotel where I escape to once in a while (I have tea at my favorite Sea Lounge and browse at the Nalanda Book Shop), to this oasis of peace; Oberoi which I like for its sweeping and awe-inspiring views of the sea and the Malabar Hills, and the Marine Drive, all are familiar destinations, everyday places that are in the centre of world attention today. They attacked Hotel Leopold another favorite spot for me and countless others, and hotel Gokul where I enjoy my seafood (where four grenades were found). Maya S. just chatted with me online. She lives close to the Oberoi Hotel and she said she could hear sounds of gunfire. I tell her not to go out and to be safe. 

I find words failing me. According to Reuteurs around 200 people are dead. People, like me, who have no share in the politics of the situation. The honourable minister said the perpetrators are people frustrated in their missions. That the government is taking this on a war footing. There are hostages trapped inside Taj and Oberoi and efforts are being made to take them to safety using ladders. The military and police are out in force. I can see them in their khaki uniforms.

They are planning something. They say it's an enocunter. The anti-terrorism chief Hemant Karkare and another inspector (Vijay Salaskar) known for his fearless encounter with criminals are dead. Latest is that the terrorists put a gun to a Singaporean citizen in the Oberoi hotel and told her to speak to her consular personnel and warn that if the army stormed the hotel, she would be shot. I can see military commandos in position waiting to storm the hotel. News comes that the terrorists came on boats and all of them are from Pakistan.

Don't know how it will end. Keep reading for more....

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