Indian security forces killed two heavily armed militants in the Trident hotel in Nariman Point and freed at least 121 people inside, thus ending a 40-hour siege. The two militants stormed the hotel on Wednesday night, indiscriminately firing and killing at least 30 people and injuring tens of others, the police said.
“Both the terrorists have been killed,” said Jyoti Krishan Dutt, director general of the National Security Guards who led the onslaught. “We have recovered two assault Kalashnikov (AK-47) rifles, one pistol and Chinese-made hand grenades from them.”
The operation, carried out by the Guards, Army and police, ended at about 3 pm on Friday. The forces combed the hotel, floor by floor, twice over. They escorted the captives, most of them shell-shocked foreigners, to the nearby Air India building for first aid and counselling. The injured were sent to Breach Candy Hospital.
The NSG had an able ally in the Mumbai police, one of whose officers climbed to the 11th floor of an apartment adjacent to the hotel and waved at the terrorists, who were 16th floor. Almost immediately, the terrorists directed their guns to the apartment from where the officer waved, and this seemed to have given their location away, enabling the Guards inside the hotel to locate them.
Among those dead were Rita and Sanjay Agarwal of Napean Sea Road. “They were newly married and had come to Trident for dinner,” said Pramila, their aunt. Among those who were injured and rushed to Breach Candy was Apoorva Parekh. Several staff members of the hotel were also killed, including an intern and a lobby manager. “We were working on on the tenth floor, when we heard gunshots,” said Jason Mascarenhas, an employee.
(With inputs from Vignesh Iyer)