“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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it is really painful to see such violence in a nice and touristic city ,mumbai ,i am really ashamed of those who call themselves mujahidine ,islam is not violent ,i am really hoping a better situation for indie people ,

Posted by wael rashed | Report as abusive

This is all due to the funding by ISI(secret agency of Pakistan) and lax policies of Congress Party in India. Pakistan wants to create an instability. It can’t manage its own country and wants to create problems in region. Its a sad situation that western governments although resolve to fight terror but turn a blind eye on Pakistan.

Posted by Prerit Souda | Report as abusive

This is a cowardly act of terrorism targeting innocent civilians. After such horrible events, how can these terrorists claim support for their so-called ’cause’? I hope this time the Indian government opens its eyes and comes out of its sleep and take out the terrorist camps, just like America did. I’m sure the world will be with India. Sitting back & doing nothing won’t help. Its time for action & I mean real, strong action.

Posted by Kiran Joy Varughese | Report as abusive

Hope you are safe. Very sad to see and hear what happened in Mumbai.


Crazy day. Cant really blame it on Pakistan, even it they trained these guys. It’s Indian muslim, and there are 140 million of them. Young Muslims are disenfranchised. As the economy worsens, it could get crazier.

Posted by AR | Report as abusive

Its heartwrenching to see the Taj hotel burning, its an icon by itself and i hope those responsible will burn in hell ! Mumbai as usual will rise very shortly and will not be deterred by such cowardly acts. Infact, trains have already resumed service in CST !

Posted by ramdas | Report as abusive

omg!! I am still crying… AND i mean I’m litrally cryin..

Why do they do it?? What do they get out of it? cant they just give us a peaceful wrld?

i want my nice world back…. shooo off terrorists.

After seeing all this I really want to join army, miletry or any odr force to kill them all.

Posted by sk | Report as abusive

You mention taking them out just like America. Problem is you get very little international support & what you do get fades away long before the war is won. Some countries best able to help fear looking ‘Western’ & actually profit selling weapons, etc… It’s not just India that needs to wake up but the whole world.
One day out of fear & lack of a better sollution people will start taking their anger out on anything Muslim, i.e. mosques,Mecca, etc..

Posted by LMMorrow | Report as abusive

To combat militancy, the world needs to drain the swamp the militants thrive in. Only way is to do this is to bring a peaceful solution to Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir which are problems created by western imperialism.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I think ,this is the repeat of the history where Mogal (muslims) invaded the north india and they demolished most of Hindu and Buddhist statues in North india.
Somebody who told Islam is not violent ,why they continues this kind of Jihad war(Most of them are like this) .Please explain those muslims who are educated.

Why is it always somebody else’s fault that the extremists are murdering people? I am sure the end is justifying the means. Murder is always wrong.

Posted by Roy Silva | Report as abusive

I pray for everyone who suffered in the mumbai attacks and those who lost there relatives……I believe it is a time where whole world has to get together and fight against terrorists ……I think this is a time …..and I am sure bharat mata will save our country from all such attacks …….

Posted by Hindustani | Report as abusive

Religion is wonderful!

Posted by Rob L. | Report as abusive

cant kill in the name of god and call yourslef as mujaheedin. Cant substantiate any cause by killing innocent people. Govt do something. you cant rest when the people are suffering.

Posted by Mash | Report as abusive

It’s very sad and heart wrenching to see what’s happening in Mumbai…being in Pakistan, we the common people here, have all our sympathies and sincere feelings attached to those who are going through this ordeal and we pray that the situation comes under control without any more loss of precious human lives…It’s a worrisome situation …those who are trying to destabilize the good will movements among the governments and people of Pakistan and India should know that its not in the interest of anyone…I request my Indian brothers and sisters to be patient, calm and alert to deal the situation and not to “instantly” blame Pakistan for all this…we are with you at this moment of grief…you need to understand that those who are doing all this ruthless crimes can neither be Pakistanis or true Muslims as Islam teaches peace, harmony and love…this is not Islam or the acts of true Muslims but of few misguided, selfish, inhumane people…

May Allah be with you…

Posted by Dr. Sabiha Khan | Report as abusive

hey! i am in mumbai n moreover came to the office. it\’s really sad to see mumbai highways which usually is overcrowded by the buses and cars, is deserted like anything.i feel pity on these terrorists. now the time has come for some strong actions. and it hardly matters whoever who thnks wat.

Posted by suraj | Report as abusive

I am so hurt…… These places are close to everyone who lives in mumbai……. We travel through these places everyday….. i dont blame pakistan as such….. but people in ISI should be cut limb by limb and their families hanged….. Terrorist camps in POK should be bombed period….. the muslims in U.K. should be investigated into and the sources of funding from there should be stopped…….. The congress party are a bunch of sissies….. what do they mean by saying we shouldnt take any hasty decision? dont they have any balls to face up to this threat……. Though i am big Congress supporter I will vote for BJP come what may……. I dont want a bunch of losers running India

time to stand firm , united against the evil
stop sreaming we are the largest democracy and unity in diversity stuff.we are not going to get any help from west in the battle against terror.so lets do it our own.
its better to be late than never.we have the right administration(educated wise) from what we can get right now,so give full support to the present govt and hope they will do it right!!
looking forward for the primeminister’s address to nation this afternoon…

Posted by r&p | Report as abusive

This is just not good. Terrorists are not to be blamed. They ARE built for destruction. It is the so called system which is to be blamed. This system claims to be the savior but fails on every front. Think of terrorists coming on boats, entering the fin capital, walking freely, killing merrily and going to so-called heaven. Crazy….

Posted by Arun Malik | Report as abusive

This day will probably go down in the books as the saddest day in INDIAn history…A day not one of us INDIAns expected to see…Saddest condolences to every1′s families who’ve lost their near and dear ones in the barbaric attack..I hope we give the terrorists a fitting reply..All the best to all ATF,STG,RAF and all brave soldiers of the INDIAn army…

Posted by Venu Madhav | Report as abusive

Its very sad and painful to see this type of activities. Indian politicians are busy in keeping their post and dont have time to care for the country. Policies like POTA are completely misused and Indian govt still didnt figure how to handle terrorism. Very pathetic to see the news and do not have any words to describe further.

Posted by Senthil | Report as abusive

There must be a powerful country or countries behind international terrorism, possibly Russia or China, because the attacks are mainly directed against the Americans and British, or generally Western countries. Terrorism has been an old tool of politics, especially the KGB.

Posted by kurdo | Report as abusive

Prerit Souda please don’t blame Pakistan for everything. This is a very horrible thing to have had happened. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.

Posted by Naila | Report as abusive

I’m sorry but condemning your islamic brothers will not be enough, its time you turn against them by turning in anyone who talks terror, if you choose otherwise you’l be treated as a terrorist….

Posted by Eli Schlanger | Report as abusive

Being an Indian Iam strongly hurt by repeated terror attacks on my country and this time especially targeting the Business and Tourist visitors.
India to not have a clean agenda againsta any cross border terrorism or terrorism with in the nation.We want to appease always a praticular religion when ever these things happen.Unless we seperate national security from religious appeasement I strongly feel that we cannot move further.We have no polocies in place, No disaster management and no Terror management.Its not Demorcatic nation anymore.Its anarchy.

Posted by Durga Prasad | Report as abusive

I am choked with grief!
I sincerely request the authorities in power to raise above the political motivations and do everything in their capacity to save the ones who are still held hostage.

I pray that the families who have lost their loved ones in this act of terror, find peace.

Posted by Harish | Report as abusive

Its very unfortunate that this kind of attacks are repeating in India.where have gone all that security and intelligence agency?

Posted by Adharsh | Report as abusive

Very sad indeed, our heart goes out to the families of those who are dead. Time for Indian government to stand up to the challenges investigate without bias and convict. The rate of conviction in India is appalingly low for militant & terrorist acts, either because of inability of the agencies to nab the real culprits or due to corruption.

Posted by Ammar | Report as abusive


Posted by TRUE CITIZEN OF INDIA | Report as abusive

My prayers goes out to the families friends of their loved ones they lost, and to the Armed forces that lost their life in the line of Duty…the Effort of RAF, ATF, Indian Army, Navy Seals, Mumbai Police…God Bless you, and India…India can handle this, Indian govt and Pakistan and the world needs to do a lot more for Terrorism,…it is very hard for a country like India to fight terrorism because of its mass diverse population…but i know that something can be done…

Posted by Tiju | Report as abusive

Was channel surfing last night at 9:30 pm local time in Dubai and was shocked at what I saw. How can any one target innocent people and tkae them as hostages for werid reasons. They must be stoned to death so that no one dares to do such henious crime in the future. Think the world must condemn such henious acts and should have a unified fight agaisnt terror similar to what is happening across the markets to salvage the financial sector

Posted by Vemuri | Report as abusive

It is vary sad situation, We Sri Lankan’s under went same pain for more than 25 Years.. But very few countries under stood what Terrorism is till their countries got attacked . We are about to end one of the most ruthless Terror organizations in the world namely LTTE, ironically India failed to understand thinking of Sri Lanka government , perhaps now is the correct time for them to learn from Sri Lanka to how crack down Terrorism

Posted by Sanjeeva | Report as abusive

Its all just nonsense. Its more irritating than scary, and im not once bit terrorized. So the terrorists have failed in their very aim – to terrorize. So much for their preparation. Killing just wont do, and I really want to know when those stupid cowards will learn that.
RIP : Hemant Karkare, Mumbai ATS Chief

Posted by Sunil | Report as abusive

Its shocking yes with regard to the audacity of the attacks, and also extremely sad. Office goers heading home from a hard day’s work being targeted by a gun wielding youngster. However I dont think we should let the terrorists think they can hold us hostage or that they can get away with it. India is strong and India will move on.

Posted by Stuti | Report as abusive

This is really pathetic. First bomb blasts and now terrorists are directly taking hostages within the country…that too, it seems, with little effort. These guys appear well trained and well-planned out. Terrorists are upgrading themselves and their activities…Politicians…Wake up! We are failing to save our own people.

Posted by Karan | Report as abusive

These terror attacks are not possible without involvement or delibrate failure of government.
These attacks are cowardly genoice attacks against humanity
The government has miserably failed.The clandestine nexus between ruling party and terrorists should be probed.
Will world come up to condemn this genocide of INDIANS

Posted by marry | Report as abusive

Americans Cheered When We Bombed Baghdad

They thought it was so exciting watching power plants and water supplies and civilian neighborhoods being obliterated by America’s finest live on tv. It was better than the Superbowl….this was real live people being blown to bits on prime time. Women, children, babies, entire families….it didnt matter. They were all “THE ENEMY”.

It was like the forth of july every night in millions of homes across America. America was so proud to be slaughtering innocent people 10,000 miles away.

Now THAT was SICK!!

Now they’re “horrified” somebody is killing innocent people…..

Posted by Rubiconski | Report as abusive

this is a clear indication of what ‘you sow so shall you reap” which means the dirty politics our politicians play for self motives and dividing the country and people with caste, religion etc. This is wakening call to all political parties and rise above and work in the interest of people jointly, work for development and not for power. These kind of attacks will keep on happening in some part of India as the country is not united any more. Petty issues are brought in each state and every one wants to prove a point.

Posted by sandeep sadh | Report as abusive

It is really sad to see terror attcks spreading throughout the world. Innocent ppl are getting hit for a war for which no one knows who is killing whome and for what reason. Be it Pakistan , India, Afghanistan, Iraq or any other place ppl are dying and there doesn’t seen bo be any end soon.
Really a very sad day for the World.

The tactics used are typical of the Sri Lankan Tamil terrorists! I have to praise the central government for doing everything to stop the LTTE exporting terrorism to India through the henchmen in Tamil Nadu. I hope Tamil Nadu Govt. understands this. They only want to take political capital out of the situation in Sri Lanka. These cheap politicians should look at India first before looking at the neighbour.

Posted by Zarook | Report as abusive

I feel sorry for the people of Mumbai. Its really the thing which should be condemned. Terrorism is not related to any specific religion and cast. Dont mix these two different terms here. Checking the blog and most of the people here blamed Pakistan and ISI. Come on, this blame game is quite enough for now. Batter the government of India should think what they are doing and how they are maintaining its Secular status. The world who you people are blaming also dealing with the same kind of experiences. So be calm, check your government and its policies.

Posted by Tahir | Report as abusive

IN USA after 9/11 there were no attacks as government had the will.In INDIA a series that never ends exposes ruling central government!POTA was withdrawn by CONGRESS.When POTA was there no bomb blasts.It proves POTA was used effectively and not misused.This CONGRESS government,ministers and officials are not only failure but total shame!

Posted by shrimali | Report as abusive

Citizens of INDIA if you go on electing a government which fails to execute orders of court,which fails economically,which fails to protect propety and life,which mocks the police and army which laids down their life(AMAR SINGH Statement) time to WAKE UP!Are so-called bad alternative so bad?No they are better!They are not hypocrite like this government in center

Posted by Jaimon | Report as abusive

These repeated terrorist attacks have proved beyond doubt that Indian Security Agencies headed by their political bosses are totally incompetent to prevent such crimes. One can understand the vastness and complexity of India but India need to learn from US, Israel and may be from Sri Lanka to deal with the terrorism. The world need to unite against the terrorism in much more meaningful fashion, otherwise humanity is at stake

Posted by NK | Report as abusive

Tears and outrage, not terror, describe my reaction to this brutality against humanity and civilization. British and American citizens are singled out to deliver a clear message: any government that stands up against radical Islam will be punished by the slaughter of its civilians.
American and British military do not use civilians as human shields or human bombs. Radical Islamists couldn’t be clearer about their intentions: Jihad. The EU has stepped down, Pakistan’s infrastructure is faltering. What will India do? Hopefully, something along these lines…
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/ 19/somalia.pirates/index.html

Posted by flyonthewall | Report as abusive

Its like 9/11. How these terroists are getting fearless & powerful, must take harsh step. There is something to do with number 26.Mostly strike of terror in india happens to be on 26th of the month

Posted by param | Report as abusive

Sardar vallabhbhai could integrate and control more than 500 states into India.Many of which were muslims while Nehru miserably failed even with 1 state called kashmir.The generations of nehru are blot on the face of humanity.Will this Indian stupidity stop?The Congress Nehru and its sucessors are incompetent corrupt greedy hungry.

Posted by raja | Report as abusive

Outrage is exactly what I felt …and certainly not terror. While the Taj burnt, it was a part of me that felt attacked and pained. How dare these outsiders hurt my city ..and what on earth makes them think they will win. I would like to be a part of whatever initiative is taken to build the Taj again. Mumbai is a city of hardworking and brave people ..and this war will be won by its common people.

Posted by Kavita | Report as abusive

India has been flushing out terorist since a very long time and was competent enough to handle such crisis in Punjab, the state close to Pakistan.
Its high time that the Congress temporarily keep aside the principles of Gandhi and take drastic steps to protect its own people from such RATS!!!!.
I would want to know, where are the Thackerys now? They wanted Non Maharashtrians out of Maharashtra, I challenge them to come forward and get rid to terrorism, atleast in Mumbai, if they have b@lls of steel.

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

Times Now is breaking news that one terrorist named Ismile from Faridkot in Pakistan has been arrested from Hotel Oberoi.My dear Tahir,all your claims become unjustified in wake of this news.It would do you better to first make your country PAKISTAN democratic and secular rather than blamming a really secular INDIA and INDIANS.This Congress government is largely responsible for this killing as it wants vote of muslims otherwise it would have nabbed these terrorists or destroyed pakistan before they could even imagine of such ventures

Posted by alka | Report as abusive