A ravaged Taj tells India’s tale of terror

November 29th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS) A white bowl with food still in it telling its tale of a dinner rudely interrupted, white sheets hanging out of the many windows and blackened walls lining rooms splattered with blood. The spectre of death hung heavy over Mumbai’s landmark Taj hotel Friday, the epitome of luxury and grace till only three days ago.The nearly 60-hour terror siege on the 105-year-old hotel just across the road from Gateway of India ended this morning in a hail of bullets and blasts with at least three terrorists, who had held out since Wednesday night, being killed.

The ravaged 565-room heritage hotel, which was the last of Mumbai’s 10 locations to be cleared of terrorists, told its own story as the last of the terrorists were killed and the first of the journalists got in.

A pink vase miraculously survived the terror onslaught and crockery was piled up on tables at the ground floor restaurant. The luxurious linen that guests once lay on were tied together from the many windows of the seven-storeyed building, the carpet meant for designer shoes was splattered with blood as were the deep sofas.

And everywhere there was glass — from the shattered windows and broken crockery.

Many walls were riddled with bullets and reports spoke of the decomposed bodies that were lying inside the vast hotel, one of Mumbai’s most photographed buildings that has now become a metaphor for terror.

But the work was not yet over.

Firemen were still dousing flames billowing from the sixth floor. And security personnel who were sanitising the entire hotel, room by room and floor by floor, stumbled upon a bag with grenades and other ammunition.

An unspecified number of people have died in the hotel since Wednesday after terrorists. At about 60 hours, it was India’s longest running hostage drama, claiming 152 lives, injuring 327. And counting.

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