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Terrorists asked us to set Oberoi hotel afire: 26/11 witness

Source: PTI
September 24, 2009 02:44 IST
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A staff of hotel Oberoi on Wednesday told a special court hearing the Mumbai attacks case that he was held hostage by two of the terrorists and was forced to set afire furniture in a restaurant at gunpoint after which he escaped from their clutches.

Recounting the horrific incident on November 26 last, the eye witness, Pradeep Ramamurthy Manglorkar, said he was on duty at Kandhar restaurant of the hotel on the ill-fated day when he and other staff members heard sound of firing.

"We came out and saw two gunmen firing outside another restaurant "Tiffin." Immediately, we returned and closed the main door of our restaurant while asking the guests to leave from the rear door," the witness told Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

"Just then the terrorists fired at our door and barged into the restaurant holding AK-47 guns in their hands. 'Do not move', they said, and took me and another staff member, Jordan Pereira, hostage. By then others -- staff members and guests -- had escaped from the back door," the witness said.

"The duo asked both hostages to pour liquor on tables and flung a lighter at Jordan asking him to set them afire. When the lighter failed to work, one of the terrorists shouted saying, "Hurry up, use the match box, we do not have much time," the witness also said.

"Jordan followed the instructions and torched the tables but the match box slipped from his hands and he sustained burn injuries. He cried and told gunmen 'mera hath jal gaya' (my hands are burnt). They were angry and fired three rounds at Jordan and he collapsed," the witness added.

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