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Mumbai airport, Taj Hotel on alert following terror threat

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Mumbai: The Mumbai domestic and international airports and the iconic Taj Hotel nearby received a terror threat, following which security agencies went on an alert, official sources said here on Tuesday.

The airport manager on duty late Monday night received a call that the airport and the Taj Hotel outside the airport may be attacked.

Described as a “specific threat”, the agencies concerned beefed up security at these locations.

The incident comes on the eve of the quantum of sentencing for the 12 convicted for the 7/11 Mumbai serial train blasts, scheduled to be pronounced on Wednesday.

Officials at Taj Hotel, near Gateway of India in South Mumbai – which was one of the prime targets during the 26/11 terror attacks – were not available for their reactions.

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Meet Ravi Dharnidhirka: The Soldier whose Raw Courage saved 157 Lives in the 26/11 Mumbai Attack

Ravi Dharnidhirka and some of the South African ex-commandos, used their presence of mind and realised that they need to do something to save the lives of the people

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Taj fire being put out after the people were rescued. Image Source : google.com
  • On 26th November 2008, Mumbai faced the worst day in its history- the terrorist attack on Hotel Taj Mahal
  • On that day, the bravery and experience of Ravi Dharnidhirka, Captain of the US Marine Corp, saved the lives of as many as 157 people
  • He was ably aided by some South African ex-Commandos and the staff of Taj

November 26, 2008, saw one of saddest days in the history of Independent India. The Hotel Taj Mahal at Mumbai was under the attack of terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba. During such a time, Captain of the US Marine Corps, Ravi Dharnidhirka had gone to have lunch at Taj with a few of his uncles and colleagues. He had sensed that something was wrong the moment he had set foot inside the hotel. The metal detectors were not working properly, he had figured. A lot of phone calls were coming to all of them, informing them about the shootings at Colaba. In the meantime, they realised that they were under attack as well.

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Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka. Image Source : betterindia.com
Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka. Image Source : betterindia.com

Ravi Dharnidhirka and some of the South African ex-commandos, who had had an experience of serving in the army used their presence of mind and realised that they need to do something to save the lives of the people. They searched the area and found a strong wooden door. They took the terrorised people through the kitchen to that room. Locked the doors and protected it with tables, chairs and whatever they could find. From the kitchen, they took the sharp cutter and armed the people as well as they could. One of them explained the situation to the people and requested them to keep calm. The Captain and his comrades then informed the Taj officials about that in case they needed to evacuate or something, reported Better India, mentioned the betterIndia report.

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When the terrorists set of the RDX in one of the halls, this group of the Captain and ex-commandos realised that it was time to carry out their evacuation plan because otherwise, the fire would engulf the staircases making it impossible to save the lives of the people waiting impatiently behind the wooden door. They removed the barricades in front of the door and slowly and steadily led them through the fire exits, out of the building. It was a lot of risks considering that every floor had a transparent fire exit through which the entire floor could be seen. They had made sure that all the phones were switched off and shoes were taken off so that they could make a noiseless exit.

As many as 157 lives were saved by the quick thinking and experience of Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka and the South African ex-commandos and the staff of Taj who had ably aided them.

-prepared by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram.

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Mumbai airport, Taj Hotel terror threat calls turn out as hoax

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Mumbai: Officials on Tuesday, stated that the terror threats to the Mumbai domestic and international airports and the adjacent Taj Hotel were a hoax.

A phone call at around 12:40 AM to a landline number at the airport manager’s office had warned about a planned terror hit at these sites with explosive-laden vehicles.

Describing it a “specific threat”, the Mumbai police and airport security went into a state of high alert at all the three sites, which are already classified as a ‘high security zone’.

Reportedly identified as Vishesh Kumar, the caller had warned that at least five vehicles would blow up between 9 to 10 AM at the three targeted sites an impact much bigger than the 26/11 terror attack.

After investigations during the day, the security agencies concluded that the call was a hoax and are now attempting to trace the caller.

A spokesperson for the Taj Group of Hotels said here that the Mumbai Police conducted a thorough security check and have confirmed the call targeting the hotel to be a hoax.

“We continue to be highly vigilant at all times to ensure safety and security of our guests,” the spokesperson added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Rajnath Singh wants state-wise strategies to combat terrorism

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Panaji: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the states would have to formulate their own strategies to combat terrorism. He was speaking at the Western Zonal Council meet here on Tuesday.

“Terrorism is a major challenge to the country, and to counter it is our prime responsibility. As such, every state should take up this issue seriously and formulate their strategy to combat this menace,” Singh was quoted as saying in an official statement.

The meeting, attended by top politicians and bureaucrats of Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Daman and Diu, was also informed that at the federal level, several measures were initiated post-Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 to ensure an effective counter terrorism response, including streamlining of the Multi Agency Centre besides setting up of subsidiary Multi-Agency Centres (SMACs) in all state headquarters.

The meeting was also informed that several State Police forces have set up specialised Counter Terrorist (CT) units called Anti Terror Squads to develop Counter Terrorist-related intelligence leads and neutralise the threats in time.

Also stressing on the need for state-centre co-operation, he said, unless all the states in the country develop, India will not be able to compete with the advanced countries.

“India today is one of the developed countries among top 10 nations in the world. And that we would lead the world in the 21st century, with a good Centre-State co-operation,” Singh said.

(With inputs from IANS)