shades of terrorism...
The globally renowned Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba here, just opposite to historic Gateway of India was not lucky the third time around.
The heritage hotel which bore the brunt of the 1993 serial blasts and again in 2003 at the Gateway of India, now played the mute witness to one of the bloodiest seize situation ever to be undertaken in the country.
The famous dome of the hotel which is a landmark of the Mumbai skyline was engulfed in thick smoke as the encounter went on and area reverberated with blast sounds and staccato of automatic weapons. Army and other forces engaged the militants in the main lobby which symbolises the grandeur of the hotel.
Eyewitnesses say that the fire was seen coming out of the main dome and flames soon spread to other domes as well. The entire top floor was in the grip of heavy fire and severely damaged during the seize which claimed lives of several of its customers.
The flames were seen coming from windows of the top-floor as fire-fighters tried hard to evacuate the trapped and douse the flames.
The indiscriminate firing by a group of hardcore militants in the century-old hotel on Wednesday left several of its patrons killed and injured and tens of foreign tourists trapped as forces tried to clear it from killers holed inside.