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10.20am – The Trident has been cleared of terrorists and everyone has been evacuated. Two or three terrorists are believed to be holed up in the Oberoi (adjoining tower in the same complex). The Taj continues to burn and still not much luck with Nariman House, even though commandos being airdropped on the roof.

Apparently, the NSG has termed this business Operation Black Thunder.  Clearly none of them are keeping an eye on Robert Downey Jr’s upcoming releases in India.

11.55am – There are now helicopters circling over the Taj. Let’s not forget all this is to combat less than three terrorists in there, of which one is injured, and they’re all in their early twenties.

1.15pm – Rumours of fresh rounds of firing at CST, which Headlines Today and Times Now say are confirmed. Except, of course, that they’re not. There is however fresh firing at the Taj.

UPDATE: It’s 6.05pm and I’ve just come back from a walk around Colaba and Nariman Point. While the operation sounds like it’s over at the Trident and Oberoi, in Colaba the situation is much more grim and the inane behaviour of many journalists as they try to get as close to the Taj as possible isn’t helping. Further down in Colaba at Nariman House, it’s seriously intense. Window grills have been ripped out, shattered glass all around and the constant ricochet of bullets. In the silence, every shot echoes.  A colleague who lives four buildings away has pictures of kids playing cricket on the roof while commandos stand guard in the rooftop just behind them. I can’t decide whether it’s chilling or uplifting.

6.40pm – All terrorists at Nariman House are killed. There have been significant casualties, including five hostages, an NSG major and one commando. At 7.17pm, Barkha Dutt informs us that the operation is not over. Crowds are cheering but as Dutt informs us, it’s actually chaos. The operation is not over. Rumours are abound that two terrorists have escaped. There are so many people outside, perched on roofs and generally on the street, that I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if there are armed terrorists inside looking to wreak havoc.

7.45pm – Official report: There are no survivors in Nariman House. Five hostages are dead.

7.51pm – Fresh firing at the Taj.

7.58pm – More explosions at Nariman House. Hopefully, these are clean-up operations.

At 11.24, Nariman House has finally been taken. The final assault continues at Taj. Supposedly, there is only one terrorist in there.

CORRECTION: It’s not Operation Black Thunder but Operation Black Tornado. At Taj, it’s been named Operation Cyclone.

The arrest of one of the terrorists and the subsequent interrogation has led to the following information: Forty terrorists make up the teams that were involved in these operations. There are/ were 29 Pakistanis and the rest are Bangladeshis. A group of them came to India a week ago while the others came over more recently by sea. This quite obviously contradicts the interview two separate terrorists had with the channel India TV (transcript here). My faith in India TV’s reportage is minimal (they make Headlines Today seem positively restrained; thank you, o media gods, for NDTV and CNN-IBN) but who knows? Maybe these guys got bored. The other major concern is that if there were indeed 40 terrorists then where are the ones whom we can’t account for, given we’ve been told that each siege location had less than 10 terrorists?

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15 thoughts on “37 hours later

  1. Who let Narendra Modi into the area, and how diabolical and low is he that he feels the need to give a political speech outside the Trident blaming the Indian government for being incompetent, the Pakistan government for harboring terrorists, and using the heat of this moment to push for draconian laws?

    Do the police have no ability to stand up to these politicians, even ones to whom they don’t owe their jobs?

  2. The police have been standing there for 36 hours. If they don’t give a rat’s ass what Narendra Modi’s attempts to get some press, I don’t blame them at all.

  3. If they don’t give a rat’s ass what Narendra Modi’s attempts to get some press

    I was referring more to the top brass who should have shown more spine and asked these idiots to stay out of the way. The rank and file has no choice but to put up.

  4. Can we hand over Barkha Dutt in exchange for the hostages, at least so she will stop badgering nervous and anxious relatives who are barely in control of their emotions?

  5. rahul, if you were watching some of the malayalam news channels, you’d feel like exchanging the anchors instead of barkha dutt or the hostages ! so atrocious !!! one ex-army man turned film maker is making so much statements on the war fare, India’s foriegn policy, and diplomatic strategies !

  6. The terrorists seem to have exploited the narrow and labyrinthine lobbies of the Taj to devastating effect. Will the standoff ever end?

  7. hello,

    I am trying to figure out – how exactly did Karkare and the other two cops die? Did it indeed die a hero’s death – or just inanely caught between the crossfire, and have now claimed herodom? I can’t seem to find an accurate account of how they were gunned down? Does you know any details?

    C

  8. C, Karkare had something of a Bruce Willis moment when, for reasons best known to him, he decided to enter Cama Hospital without his bulletproof jacket. This was very early into Wednesday. I suspect at that point we thought these were young punks with guns, randomly shooting people.

    Salaskar and Kamte, on the other hand, as far as I know, were not inane. Salaskar died because of a bullet wound to the neck. I’m not sure exactly where Kamte was shot but I believe he was not auditioning for Die Hard 5.

  9. rumour here has it that a number of the terrorists were British of Pakistani origin…. makes me sick – ducky, i am so, so sorry.

  10. Renu, as far as I know, he sustained injuries at Cama Hospital but succumbed to them later. Metro Cinema is where Salaskar was shot. Once again, this is as far as I know. Definite information is really hard to come by at this point.

  11. Mad, I’ve heard these rumours. It’s also been suggested that they received funding from Saudi Arabia (they certainly had a generous sponsor; almonds and raisins are expensive, dammit). But honestly, right now we don’t know for certain how many men were involved in this, let alone who planned it or where they’re from. We’ve all got our share of fanatics. We even vote them into power.

  12. One of the NYT stories seemed to indicate that many more people would have escaped from the Taj, had it not been for the constant trilling (as the NYT described it) of cellphones alerting terrorists who hustled all the diners into one of the rooms. Another chilling anecdote that emphasizes the scary arbitrariness of situations like this!

    And one more reason to use vibrate, folks! Eliminate cacophony!

  13. Rahul, what’s more bizarre is that at least 2 survivors whom I know said that they weren’t taking the whole terrorist/shooting thing too seriously until they actually heard the shots. Even they thought it was happening to someone else, somewhere else. Then at midnight, there was the first Taj explosion. That’s when they realised this was serious. If it is true about the mobile phones, I suspect they all went into silent mode at the moment there was the resounding boom.

  14. I think it is goodbye, once and for all, to the days of freely entering the Taj and hanging out in the lobby when in the area. I will miss my beloved Bombay.

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