“Sitting here watching the Taj burn down”

By Reuters Staff
November 27, 2008

Reuters Editor, South Asia, Phil Smith is reporting from outside the landmark Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, where Western hostages are being held.

“The scene at the famous gate of India is chaos, with dozens of army, police and fire trucks struggling to control a situation which began in the late evening on Wednesday. Searchlights illuminate the front of the Taj hotel, as up to five gunmen hold hundreds of hotel guests hostage. There have been several explosions from inside the hotel and earlier, grenades were thrown from windows and exploded in the street.

“At around 3 a.m., a large explosion set fire to the top part of the building, and fires are still burning on the upper floors.

“There have been rescue attempts by firefighters with hotel guests plucked from lower floor front windows by ladder and hydraulic lift. As they fled the scene, they told how they barricaded themselves in their rooms after hearing explosions and automatic fire in the hotel. There are similar scenes across the peninsula at the Trident hotel where another siege is going one.

“As dawn approaches, the fate of the remaining hostages is still unclear.”

To listen to Phil’s audio account click here.

Smoke rises from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta


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What the hell is going on. India is a very strong nation with a very strong defence force, police system, democracy etc., but it is a pity that for killing or capturing few terrorists we lost bold and daring police and army officers as well as more than 200 persons. Is it a joke or farce ? What is the Government doing ? What are the coast guards doing ? The whole system is smelling rotten. I am ashamed of the security system……

Posted by s.s.pillay | Report as abusive

If it is true that the Muslim militants were involved in this gruesome incident in Mumbai, I would call the militants a bunch of good for nothing people. In the name of Islam, it is “Haram” to kill and destroy. They did and still do not realize what they destroyed were the properties of Allah (SWT). Does anything in this “dunia” (world) belong to any of us? They believe the hotel belongs to someone. How religiously ignorant are they. Can anyone, who leaves this world bring anything with them?

Another thing they fail to realize is that they destroyed Allah’s creation. Who created the people they killed? Is it Allah’s or Satan’s creation? How can they believe what they are doing is right, when on one instance they prayed, praised and glorified Allah, on the other instance, they destroyed Allah’s creation. Does it make sense?

I guess it is the work of a few (scoundrels) who massed the media for their own selfish personal gain. Whoever reads this message, please pass it round to others (believers and non believers) and explain to them that Islam means Peace and not Pandemonium.

Posted by Muh | Report as abusive

History repeats itself. Ever since the dawn of creation people were fighting for their beliefs: killing those who would not conform. In a sense all religions are the same: based on a set of morals deemed worthy of defense to the extreme. As human beings we have an intrinsic need to achieve. To reach out to God. To gain approval. These events are just another example of people believing in gaining approval from God through actions.
We can never gain approval: everyone is far from God. Everyone has sinned. How amazing is it then that God – when we did not deserve it whatsoever – paid for our sins through Christ? The thought of me not having to go to these extremes to gain approval but that His Love saved me not by my actions but by just accepting this gift, just blows my mind.

Posted by hb | Report as abusive

Hats of to the brave hearts of India who fought terror.
I pray for the victims who were injured during the attack.

Posted by sangameswaran | Report as abusive

Mumbai is a strong city and will recover from these gruesome terror attacks. We as Indians should stop practice what we preach everyone says come on lets do something about this but nothing is done. We elect our politicians so we should not be blaming them and accusing them for what has happened afterall they are human beings just like you and me. Instead of blaming one another serious action should be taken by the government and security forces to stop terrorism. Install CCTV’s , get people trained to handle situations like these, get the people responsible for fighting against terrorist proper equipment i.e safety clothes and ammunition. And corruption should stop in India it is known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Come on people we can do better than this. We have money but our country wates it on dumb cricket matches and other useless things which are not required. I would also like to condole all those who have lost loved ones afterall i lost my Mum in it and know what it feels like. JAI HIND! LONG LIVE INDIA. And all you westerners if you are scared of india dont come here stay away no one is forcing you to visit it.

Posted by Prashi | Report as abusive

Lets wake up now!! First, it was Sankat Mochan at Varanasi. They tried to alter people’s faith. Then were the crowded markets of Delhi, aiming at people shopping for Diwali. They then carried a serial blasts that shook Bangalore, India’s IT hub. And now they are targeting Countries best Hotels, that too in the financial capital of India, Mumbai that affects nation’s economy.

It’s a high degree of letdown for the Indian Government being slapped away on the face by these ruthless devilish terrorist groups who are butchering innocent lives every now and then. My heart cries and my eyes get blood when I look at the pictures of the distorted human bodies on the screen of my television sitting alone in my drawing room. I feel pain and anguish deep inside my heart. Sorrily wiping tears and feeling helpless for not being able to do anything about it.

When will this bloodbath end? When can we get fresh air to breath? When can there be a day when there’s no news of ‘life’ getting challenged? Where can we find fearless time walking on the roads holding hands of our children? When can we go to places without a scare of sudden terror attack? How can we stop humankind getting victimized and falling for these gruesome acts? When I leave every morning for my College, I’m petrified whether I’ll be able to make it back to home safe today or not.

I want to ask all is it that difficult? Is it that impossible? A fist full of people ruined nation’s best hotels because of an extremely weak security lapse. It’s unbelievable to think that a population of over one billon is incapable fight back against terrorism. It is absolutely cowardly to succumb to such devastations in the country any more. The idea might sound difficult but it’s not that impossible either. A lot can be done, if we are awake within. If we bind our hearts and souls together to sweep away the dust of terrorism from the heart of our motherland. Even though it’s been 61 years of Independence, yet India is not free from the chains of insecurity and slavery of terror. Seems we are yet to see a free India…

My humble plea to my countrymen, let’s shun our selfishness and give away our ignorances. Now is the time to open your eyes. Let’s be together and join hands. Let’s do something about it before it gets too late. Let’s wake up at least NOW!!

Posted by Monika Verma | Report as abusive