PM, Sonia, Advani visit Mumbai injured (Lead)

November 28th, 2008 - 1:35 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiMumbai, Nov 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Mammohan Singh, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and Congress president Sonia Gandhi flew into the city Thursday evening to meet those injured in the terror strikes inn this western metropolis.The prime minister, along with Gandhi, visited the J.J. Hospital in south-central Mumbai to inquire about the condition of over 50 injured police personnel and foreign tourists who are admitted there.

The prime minister’s convoy travelled along the D.N. Road, a major stretch of it leading from Colaba to Crawford Market near the Mumbai Police headquarters. The road was cordoned off by the army after Wednesday night’s gun battle at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (VT), apprehending further attacks by the terrorists.

The VVIP visits came at a tension-filled time when the security forces were already stretched, engaged in fierce gunbattles with terrorists hiding in two luxury hotels and a multi-storey building.

Advani visited the iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel soon after landing in the city. His visit came when the National Security Guards were battling it out inside the hotel for a final assault on the terrorists holed up inside the hotel and to bring about 39 guests held hostage out safely.

The security forces have also laid seige at the Oberoi Trident Hotel and the Nariman Bhavan, where terrorists have held many people, including some Israeli nationals, hostage.

“The visit by politicians has put extra pressure on police personnel as they have been out on the street for the last nearly 24 hours since Wednesday night, providing support to the NSG, army and the Rapid Action Force in the operations at three key points in the city,” a retired police official said.

According to him, as many as 2,000 police personnel are required to give security cover to the prime minister alone, and many of them were deployed at strategic points along the route of his visit from the airport.

Some were upset with the speech by Advani, who while addressing the media at the Taj, gave a political speech by blaming the central and state governments for intelligence failure.

Talking to the media, the state BJP chief and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Nitin Gadkari, defended Advani and said that the BJP prime ministerial candidate had come to Mumbai only to give a morale booster to the city’s stressed citizens at a crucial time.

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