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26/11 terror survivor to sue Tatas

world Updated: Apr 01, 2012 01:14 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar
Dipankar De Sarkar
Hindustan Times
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A British man who was left partially paralysed from a 50-foot plunge while attempting to escape terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel on 26/11 is suing the hotel's owners, claiming they failed to protect residents.

Will Pike, 32, who was staying at the Taj with his girlfriend on the night of the attack, is citing an interview given by Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group that owns the iconic 109-year-old Mumbai hotel. In the CNN interview, shown on November 29, 2008, Tata had said the hotel did take security measures after warnings, but that these would not have stopped the attacks.

"They (the terrorists) knew what they were doing, and they did not go through the front. All of our arrangements are in the front," Tata had said. "They planned everything. I believe the first thing they did, they shot a sniffer dog and his handler. They went through the kitchen."

Pike and his girlfriend Kelly Doyle hid in the bathroom as they heard the terrorists go from room to room, killing guests. When their room filled with smoke, Pike smashed the window with a marble table and slid down a makeshift rope made with bedsheets and curtains. But it snapped and he fell to the ground. Doyle was rescued later by security forces.

Back in London, the two successfully campaigned for the British government to change its laws to enable Britons to be compensated when they were killed or injured in terrorist attacks abroad. But the two have split up now. "We were deeply in love but it all became too much," said wheelchair-bound Pike.

On Friday, his lawyer Russell Levy said: "This case is about a failure by the hotel to protect its residents and the negligence of management in failing to institute appropriate and effective security measures to prevent terrorists from entering the hotel despite warnings of an impending attack, or to put in place proper evacuation procedures."

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