Written byShalini Ojha
A caller threatened to blow up two Taj Hotels in Mumbai — the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba and Taj Lands End in Bandra — after which security was tightened.
The caller, allegedly from Pakistan, rang up the hotels' landline numbers to inform that a 26/11-esque attack could happen soon.
The call came after 12:30 am. The statement of the staff, who received it, will be recorded.
Due to COVID-19 induced restrictions, the hotels aren't operational, but agencies aren't leaving anything to chance. They have undertaken appropriate measures to ensure the events of 2008 aren't repeated.
To recall, in November 2008, Mumbai became the victim of a deadly attack, orchestrated by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group operating from Pakistan.
10 Lashkar operatives entered through sea route, hurled bombs, and opened fire indiscriminately.
The Taj Hotel in Colaba had become the ground zero of the battle between armed forces and terrorists, a face-off that continued for over two days.
During the first night, agencies rescued nearly 200 people from the hotel using ladders. As many as six explosions were reported from there.
Several officers, including NSG's Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, were martyred in the attack.
Before holing up inside the sea-facing luxury hotel in Colaba, the terrorists had launched coordinated attacks at Nariman Point, Leopold Cafe, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Cama Hospital, etc.
Of the terrorists, only one, named Ajmal Kasab, was arrested alive.
After a long-winding trial in the Indian courts, he was hanged to death on November 21, 2012. He was found guilty of 80 offenses.
The 26/11 terror attack became a turning point for Indo-Pak relations, with New Delhi pressurizing the neighboring country to act against terror groups.
Pakistan showed little interest. Consequently, it was given the tag of a "greylisted country" by global terror-watchdog FATF.
In its recent assessment, FATF noted Pakistan didn't act against Sajid Mir, who played a key role in the attack, even after years.
Reports also said the caller allegedly threatened to attack the hotels just like how Pakistan Stock Exchange was attacked.
Yesterday, armed terrorists attempted to barge inside the building, in the heart of Karachi, and opened fire. They hurled grenades too.
The terrorists were reportedly prepared to take people hostage, but their plans were foiled by police and Rangers, who rushed to the spot immediately.
In the exchange of fire, 11 people, including the terrorists, were killed. Later on Monday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi blamed India for the attack, accusing New Delhi of "operating sleeper cells".
In response, India said Pakistan's domestic problems don't concern it.
Meanwhile, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack and also released pictures of the terrorists.
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