Dec 1, 2008

India - Terrorists did not plan to bring down the Taj;NSG

NEW DELHI: The National Security Guard on Sunday denied that the terrorists holed up in the landmark Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai had plans to bring down the heritage building.

“We have not found explosives in such quantities that could bring down the building,” said NSG Director-General J.K. Dutt at a press conference here shortly after arriving from Mumbai.

The NSG commandos recovered AK-47 assault rifles, a number of hand-grenades and pistols from the slain terrorists.

Mr. Dutt pointed out that the operation at the Taj was difficult because of its huge columns, high roofs and wide and spiral staircases, which the terrorists were “familiar” with.

“They moved around easily. We did not know where one passage would lead us. The terrorists knew the place very well and preferred big rooms with high ceilings to take positions. They avoided small rooms where they could have been easily trapped by us. They also used a number of diversionary tactics like setting fire to distract the commandos so that they could change their position.”

The NSG chief said their main objective to ensure that there was no loss of innocent human lives.

“Our men did that commendably. No one was injured due to NSG firing. Most of the senseless killings by terrorists had been done much before the NSG started its operations.”

Mr. Dutt also said they did not receive any ransom demand from the terrorists at any stage of the operation.

He clarified that there was no delay on the NSG’s part in starting operations to eliminate the holed up terrorists.

“The NSG started its operations well in time. We received quick help from the State authorities in launching the operations at all the places. The Mumbai police gave us all the inputs. We were getting intelligence inputs as well and we had briefed our team on our way,” said the Director-General.

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