‘Words of 26/11 terrorists still ringing in my ears’
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Last Updated: Friday, September 11, 2009, 20:08
Mumbai: A staff of hotel Taj, who was taken hostage by the terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, on Friday told the court that he heard one of the attackers telling his companions to throw grenade and set the hotel on fire.

"'Throw grenades and set the hotel on fire....', these words uttered by a terrorist on the night of November 26 last during terror attacks at hotel Taj are still ringing in my ears," Adil Irani, a steward with the hotel, told the court.

Thirtyone-year-old Adil, who was taken hostage for about four hours by four suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives, said the attackers were very abusive and had assaulted some hostages very badly.

Adil said the terrorist was telling his companions that they must throw hand grenades and torch the hotel at once. "This frightened me but I kept quiet", he told Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

Yesterday, a banker had described in the court how he was taken hostage and the way he escaped.

The witness told Judge M L Tahaliyani that a terrorist was talking to somebody on mobile phone and told the person on the other side "Panch murge pakde hain, ek bada murga hai (we have captured five people, one of them is a big man)".

"My mobile which terrorists had kept with them, rang and my wife inquired about me. The terrorist who picked up the cell phone got furious and told her that 'Operation hatao nahin to Tabahi macha denge' (stop the Operation or else we would create havoc)," he said.

The terrorist was telling Adil's wife to stop the Operation of the Commandoes who were firing at them.

Adil said he was serving in a restaurant at hotel Taj on November 26 night when he heard gunshots. He was frightened and took a lift to the sixth floor.

The witness said he met his colleague Swapnil in room number 639 and they locked it from inside. At 1.15 am, someone knocked at the door twice but they did not open.

Suddenly the door broke open and two armed persons entered the room. One with a grey shirt was limping, while the other tall person with a golden shirt was holding a gun.

"We were hiding behind a table. They asked us to come out and took us to a passage outside the room where we were made to lie down on the ground with other hostages. Two more terrorists joined them thereafter," Adil told prosecutor Nikam.

Adil said the terrorists asked him about his religion and when he told them that he was a Muslim, they said, "Ghanta Musalman hai, Jehad ke naam par kalank hai. Gaddar Musalman hai" (what Muslim are you, a blot on Jehad. You are a Muslim traitor). When Adil told them he was a steward, they said, "chal Allah ko kurban ho ja" (come on, now get ready to sacrifice your life to Allah).

The witness said some more hostages were brought to the same place and they were shifted to room number 632. "After sometime the terrorists left us saying, 'Inko chod do, apni jaan bachao' (leave them, let us save our lives)," he said, adding that he escaped from a window and was rescued by fire brigade.

Judge reprimands Kasab

Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab was today reprimanded by special Judge M L Tahaliyani, who is hearing the Mumbai attacks case, after the lone surviving terrorist of 26/11 was found talking to a co-accused in the dock.

"Kya baat kar rahe ho"? the judge asked Kasab after Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam made a complaint that the gunman was talking to Faheem Ansari.

Kasab got up and said "kuch nahin huzur" (nothing sir).

The Judge remarked "court mein theek se baitho" (sit properly and maintain the decorum of the court).

Kasab then sat down on the bench and did not utter a word.

Nikam complained to the court after he saw Kasab disobeying the police constable who asked him (through gestures) not to talk to Faheem.

Kasab is facing the trial along with two Indians, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed. They are charged with participating in the alleged conspiracy and killing 166 persons in terror attacks on November 26 last year.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, September 11, 2009, 20:08

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