… and counting. A neat chronology of the events so far is given here by NDTV.
10.45am – There are still 50-odd hostages inside the Taj. The Trident also continues to be under siege. The Taj has about 5 terrorists inside. A navy officer said that sniffer dogs are being used to check whether dead bodies are booby-trapped. Media are being told to not play up things and to not expect a result any time soon.
There are some mixed reports about what the Deccan Mujahideen want. Apparently, they asked for “all mujahideen” to be released (perhaps they took heart from our inept handling of Kandahar). They’ve also claimed that these attacks are a reaction to the years of persecution of Islam. Some have suggested that the Deccan Mujahideen is a front for a Pakistani terrorist group.
Cama and GT Hospital seem to be terrorist-free while the “operations” continue at Trident, Taj and Nariman House. Colaba is officially under curfew.
11.19am – Two “top US intelligence officials” have been killed in the Taj.
Eight kilograms of RDX were found near the Taj hotel. Two live bombs were defused at the Taj. The 19th floor of the Trident is where the terrorists are believed to be at the moment. If you look up at the skyscraper, you can see it’s the only set of windows with lights on in them. Ten to twelve terrorists are believed to be inside the Trident.
Six Israelis are among those being held hostage in Nariman House, Colaba. Altogether, there are about 30 hostages.
12.42pm – The official death tally has gone up to 101. More than 300 people have been injured.
12.54pm – Actor Ashish Chowdhury’s sister is inside the Trident. A friend of hers made it out and informed him that there are injured inside. He makes the point that if there are talks then he feels some sense of hope because it means this entire nightmare isn’t random cruelty. “There is a purpose to it,” as he puts it.
1.18pm – Fresh firing at the Trident.
1.34pm – It seems a Pakistani national has been arrested in Chowpatty in connection with these attacks and the Indian intelligence has said that a “foreign hand” is evident (with the amount of RDX found and the MP5 guns these guys are using, I’m not surprised). Still no news about the stolen police jeep that zoomed about spraying bullets around Nariman Point and CST.
According to the Mumbai Police, the terrorists came to Mumbai from Gujarat by boat. They came to Sassoon Dock with inflatable rafts. More inflatable rafts were recovered with RDX in them.
2.02pm – The Taj siege is over. All hostages are out.
There’s a shortage of blood at JJ Hospital and Bombay Hospital. It seems medical equipment is being brought over to JJ, which suggests there’s a massive pressure on the hospitals’ resources.
2.06pm – Six terrorists are being interrogated. According to Times Now, the terrorists are communicating using satellite phones. One of the Times Now journalists narrowed missed a bullet.
2.25pm – It seems the stolen police car may have been found. The other news is that RDX has been found at the Trident.
2.45pm – Contrary to Maharashtra’s Director General of Police, Mr. A.N. Roy’s press statement, the operation at the Taj is not over. There was an enormous explosion just now. Eyewitness says it’s the worst explosion they’ve had so far.
2.50pm – Blast reported at the Trident. The hotel has had hand grenades set off, as in the Taj, but Barkha Dutt emphasises this is not the sound of a grenade but a bomb.
3.02pm – Five explosions over the past 15 minutes at the Trident.
3.09pm – Army vehicles are stationing themselves at Nariman House. The general mood is that they are readying for attack. A navy ship is chasing a trawler believed to have dropped off the terrorists.
Someone said that it’s all going to end very soon because the terrorists must be getting tired now. Army personnel have told the media that it’s taking longer than they’d anticipated and as the reporter tells this, another explosion rumbles behind her. “They’re getting impatient,” says the elderly gent sitting next to me. “They haven’t eaten or anything. How long will they go on?” I don’t know whether such emotions have any place in the minds of these young men. As the cameras train their lenses upon two pale, drawn faces at a balcony of the Taj. For their sake and that of their companions, I hope no one loses patience.
7.02pm – No one did. Close to 24 hours and there isn’t much change. Explosions and gunfire have been heard repeatedly. A few people have been evacuated (total number evacuated: 400) but the terrorists are still in the three locations. The chilling quietness of the morning has passed. If anyone has lost patience with all this, it’s those of us who aren’t in there and who are alive. Fear is giving way to macabre curiosity and people are “visiting” the Taj and Trident, albeit from a distance. The number at the Trident has been estimated at 200 now and sources say that the terrorists are trained soldiers who are treating this like a war situation. They are as well equipped and well planned as those pursuing them, which is why the attempts to storm these buildings hasn’t been successful. They’ve known how to retaliate, and strongly. Ten of the terrorists are from Pakistan, as per most recent reports.
UPDATE: At 1.08am, Nov 28, the drama is far from over. Despite reports that the situation at the Taj had been defused, there has been firing which means things are clearly going to go well into the morning. At the Nariman House and the Oberoi, things are quiet and some evacuation has happened but not enough to show an end in sight. Not sure how accurate this is but here’s a list of the deceased and injured.