Sunday, December 21, 2008

Like a Phoenix, they rise from ashes..

We hail the resilient Mumbai spirit and salute all those who are responsible for the hotels to bounce back so soon after the attack... it is not even a month after the terror attacks rocked Mumbai (still 5 more days to the day) and they are already on their feet... good work people.. Even though the 105-year-old palace wing of the Taj, which was badly damaged by fire and gunshots during the 60-hour siege, is still closed, pending painstaking renovations to ornate wood and marble work and lavish furnishings, we hope the day will come soon when Mr. Ratan Tata can inaugurate the Symbol of Mumbai too! "It's the best thing that could have happened," the general manager of Trident, Sanju Soni, said in the media interview when asked about the swift reopening. "A hotel without guests is very depressing, especially after what happened. The sooner life gets back to normal the better."

The Trident hotel opened its doors to the media on Saturday, allowing access to its gallery of high-end shops, reception and restaurant areas, as finishing touches were put to the decor and fittings.

Female hotel workers in saris handed out yellow roses to reporters after stringent checks on identification, bags and frisking by security guards. Armed police were positioned behind sandbags at the entrance and access roads were blocked off..

Ratan tata also got emotional while holding a press conference, "We dedicate the restored hotel to those who have lost their lives," Tata, who is the Chairman of Indian Hotels, the company that owns the Taj, said just before the reopening of Tower Wing of the hotel. "We cannot be knocked down, this is a memorable day and a tribute to those who saved many lives," an emotional Tata said, adding "It gives me a great sense of pride, this is the start of a new era. To us, it was a challenge to have the hotel reopen within one month from attack," he said. The heritage wing of the hotel, badly damaged in the attack, will be opened in phases starting from February, he said, adding that the entire hotel will be opened by the end of next year.

Amen to that!
Jai Hind


Amit said...



Mumbai Attackers May Have Followed 1993 New York Terror Plot

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Last week’s Mumbai terrorists may have been following a 15-year-old script on how to attack a city’s fanciest hotels.

The Mumbai attacks “closely followed” the framework of a foiled 1993 New York plot, including “high-profile soft targets” such as hotels, the use of watercraft to gain access to sites and the choice of weaponry, according to a Dec. 3 report from Austin, Texas-based Stratfor, an intelligence company.

The so-called Landmark plot in 1993 was thwarted when U.S. authorities arrested eight people linked to the then-nascent al- Qaeda group before they had a chance to execute their plan to attack several sites in Manhattan, the report said. The targets included the Waldorf-Astoria and UN Plaza hotels as well as the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, Stratfor said.

In Mumbai, India’s financial center, at least 10 gunmen armed with automatic rifles, grenades and explosives targeted the main railway station, two five-star hotel complexes, a Jewish center and a hospital. The assaults, which killed 195 people, began late on Nov. 26 and ended on Nov. 29.

“Gauging by the success of the Mumbai incident, we can expect similar strategies and tactics in future attacks,” the report said. The thwarted 1993 attack could have “undermined the security and effectiveness of New York as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings,” the report said.

Meeting N.Y. Police

Hotel industry representatives are meeting with the New York City Police Department today to discuss how to best secure the city’s hotels.

“There are of course certain inconveniences you can impose without scaring the life out of tourists and your guests,” said Jimmy Chin, executive director of risk management at the New York Palace Hotel and chairman of the security committee for the Hotel Association of New York. “There has to be a happy medium and a balance to it.”

The NYPD deployed heavily armed “Hercules” anti-terror squads to most of the city’s major hotels immediately after the Mumbai attacks, including the Waldorf-Astoria, the Palace Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner for public information and the department’s main spokesman.

The department has more than 1,000 officers assigned to counterterrorism, both in uniform and undercover, he said.

Daily Briefing

Every day, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly meets with David Cohen, deputy commissioner for intelligence, and Richard Falkenrath, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, for a briefing on any attacks around the world, Browne said.

The police have snipers to target anyone who might use a gun at a public gathering, such as the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, and practice how to respond to multiple, simultaneous attacks, like those in Mumbai, Browne said.

“None of this is foolproof,” Browne said by telephone. “It’s a big open city and we live in an open democratic society. We’re doing what we reasonably can, but probably more than any other police department.”

NYPD detectives are often sent around the world to gather intelligence in the wake of terrorist attacks, and the department is considering sending investigators to Mumbai, Browne said.

“Various parts of the attack cycle can change, but rarely does an attack occur that is completely novel,” Stratfor said in the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robin Stringer in New York at; Chris Dolmetsch in New York at;

Last Updated: December 4, 2008 17:06 EST

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Ya have read this report...but if the terrorists decide to use the plot of their earlier attempt here, how does it mean that we r backward!!

Amit said...

Let me explain.

Consider this hypothetical situation:

An American surgeon while operating discovers a potentially fatal complication in time and manages to save the life of a patient.He then concludes that it is not possible to completely avoid this complication but suggestes guidelines on how to prevent and what to do if the complication occurs.

Now 15 YEARS later, an Indian surgeon faces the same complication. He has absolutely no knowledge about it.He just doesnt know what to do.The patient dies on the operating table.What do you think would be the reaction of the relative of such a patient?

Vineet Aggarwal said...

I get ur point but do u think anybody in their wildest dreams wud hv thought that the same model wil b applied after 15 years!! plus we get so many threats everyday yaar it is practically impossible to tk all of them seriously else the country will hv a collective nervous breakdown!!the slip here was that the govt failed to act on this particular one.. but after this attack govt should study all the previous attacks since say 50 yrs and prepare the country against them.. it seems the right thing to do in hindsight but nobody cud have predicted which model of attack the terrorists wud use.. for all u knw the govt may hv protected itself against WTC kind of attacks thinking that to b the latest pattern..

Amit said...

That people who are responsible did not think it in their wildest dreams shows their collective lack of foresight and irresponsibility.

Intelligence agencies ahve the means and resources to screen all threats and ascertain if they are genuine or not. That is their job.
Just like a doctor has to depend on history and investigations to differentiate musculoskeletal, peptic ulcer kind of chest pains from heart attack.

We can of course always defend the government on may be(s) and could be(s) but when it is concerned with human life we have to be aspirational to achieve the highest standard possible as every human life is important.