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?