Delhi’s Taj hotels up security, but no contact with Mumbai wing (Lead)November 27th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Security was beefed up at the two Taj hotels here but the hospitality chain had little first hand information on the goings on at its main Mumbai wing, one of the places targetted in an overnight attack by terrorists and where people were held hostage Thursday. The Taj authorities in Delhi said all telephone lines to the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel were dead. The attack by the terrorists that began Wednesday night at prominent landmarks in the city has left 101 people dead and 250 injured.
“We have no details about things happening at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. Whatever information we’ve had is through news channels. We tried to contact them but all telephone lines are dead,” a senior official at the Taj Mansingh in the heart of the capital told IANS.
Security at the two Taj hotels in Delhi - the other being the Taj Palace Hotel on Sardar Patel Marg near Dhaula Kuan - has been beefed up since Wednesday night. People entering the hotel are being screened and frisked.
“No visitor is allowed to go up to the rooms without first being cleared by the guest. Bags were being checked as the hotel came under a security blanket,” the official said.
The hotel is flooded with telephone calls by people seeking details of their dear ones staying at the hotel chain’s Mumbai branch.
“We have received many phone calls since night about people trying to trace their relatives and friends staying at Taj, Mumbai. But we are telling them we have no details and they can call us later in the evening for details,” the official said.
Several tourists putting up at the Taj Mansingh were seen seeking details about the terror attack from hotel authorities.
“I came to know about the attack as I switched on the TV in my hotel room. It is really scary that you are not safe even in the country’s best hotels,” said Poonam Khullar, an NRI who came to India last week for her brother’s marriage.
“I called up the reception to know about the details. I visit India often and had stayed several times at Taj Palace Mumbai. I am just afraid thinking about the incident,” said Michael Fernandez, a business executive from New York.
The most audacious terror attack in Mumbai began Wednesday night when militants attacked high profile landmarks, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel, Metro Theatre and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) railway station. At least 101 people, including a foreign tourist and four top police officers, were killed and over 250 injured.
The crisis continued Thursday with terrorists holding people hostage in the two five-star hotels.