A staffer at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, who was taken hostage by the terrorists during the 26/11 attacks, told the court on Friday that he heard one of the attackers telling his companions to throw grenades and set the hotel on fire.
"'Throw grenades and set the hotel on fire....', these words uttered by a terrorist on the night of November 26 last during terror attacks at hotel Taj are still ringing in my ears," Adil Irani, a steward with the hotel, told the court.
Thirtyone-year-old Adil, who was taken hostage for about four hours by four suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives, said the attackers were very abusive and had assaulted some hostages very badly. Adil said the terrorist was telling his companions that they must throw hand grenades and torch the hotel at once. "This frightened me but I kept quiet", he told special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
Irani told Judge M L Tahaliyani that a terrorist was talking to somebody on mobile phone and told the person on the other side "Panch murge pakde hain, ek bada murga hai (we have captured five people, one of them is an important personality)".
"My mobile which terrorists had kept with them, rang and my wife inquired about me. The terrorist who picked up the cell phone got furious and told her that operation hatao nahin to tabahi macha denge' (stop the operation or else we would wreak havoc)," Adil told the court.
The terrorist was telling Adil's wife to stop the commando operation in progress at the hotel. Adil said he was working at a restaurant at the Taj on November 26, when he heard gunshots, frightened he then took a lift to the sixth floor.
The witness said he met his colleague Swapnil in room number 639 and they locked it from inside. At 0115 hrs, someone knocked at the door twice but they did not open it. Suddenly the door broke open and two armed persons entered the room. "The person with a grey shirt was limping, while the other tall person with a golden shirt was holding a gun. We were hiding behind a table. They asked us to come out and took us to a passage outside the room where we were made to lie down on the ground with other hostages. Two more terrorists joined them thereafter," Adil told prosecutor Nikam.
Adil said the terrorists asked him about his religion and when he told them that he was a Muslim, they said, "Ghanta Musalman hai, Jehad ke naam par kalank hai. Gaddar Musalman hai" (You are not a Muslim, youa a blot on Jehad. You are a Muslim traitor).
When Adil told them he was a steward, they said, "chal Allah ko kurban ho ja" (come on, now get ready to sacrifice your life for Allah). The witness said some more hostages were brought to the same place and they were shifted to room number 632. "After sometime the terrorists left us saying, Inko chod do, apni jaan bachao' (leave them, let us save our lives)," he said,adding that he escaped from a window and was rescued by the fire brigade.