EU MP recalls miraculous escape from Mumbai hotel

November 29th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 29 (IANS) Sajjad Karim, a British member of the European Union (EU) parliament who was staying at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, miraculously managed to survive the terror attacks by running out of a corridor with his back to a gunman who was shooting indiscriminately.”I had my back to the gunman and honestly thought, ‘He is not going to let me get there’. But I did get there, and around the corner, and thought, ‘Now is the chance.’ I just ran down another corridor opening to the kitchen,” Karim told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Narrating the harrowing ordeal that he underwent, Karim said he was locked up inside the hotel’s kitchen and then a restaurant with lights off, along with 50 other people for six and half hours, before being escorted out safely by the Indian army.

“There were times when the doors would move…when we knew there was somebody out there, but we stayed quiet with all the lights off,” he said.

Karim had checked in to the hotel as part of a EU delegation a little more than a hour before the terrorists struck at about 9.45 p.m.

“All of a sudden you could hear all this firing going on from outside the hotel and people started to run into the (hotel) compound,” he said.

Fearing for life, Karim said he started running towards the rear exit, with gunshots behind him getting louder and louder. No sooner had he reached there, he saw a man carrying a machinegun.

“He was young. He had on dark clothing. But my concentration was on his gun, and then the gun started going off straight at us. People in front started to fall,” Karim said.

Somehow, he managed to enter the kitchen and then a restaurant. All those who were hiding here blocked the entrance with chairs and a piano.

Among those inside this room included Americans, Canadians and British. Many of them were crying, some were hysterical and some were hiding under the tables, he said.

In between, Karim text messaged his wife back home to say that everything was alright. When the battery of his cell phone went off, he borrowed that of a British man and an Indian to reach his wife.

“I would call my wife every 45 minutes and in quiet whispers tell her, ‘It is going to be okay.’,” Karim said.

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