An ex-Taj manager recalls the horrors of 26/11 and urges the UNSC to fight terrorism

As he addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, Karambir Kang, area director of Taj Group (IHCL) in the United States, urged member nations to fight back against acts of terrorism.

Kang, during his address at the Taj Mumbai in 2008, recalled the shooting that killed 32 people, including guests and staff, and injured 28 others. In these very walls are etched the names of our brave colleagues, guests, and my family who perished in the 26/11 attack. Over the course of two days and three nights, the hotel’s domes and spires remained ablaze.

A terrorist attack on 26/11 claimed the lives of Kang’s family, which included two sons and his wife.

A dozen locations in Mumbai had been attacked by armed terrorists, including a hospital, a railway station, a restaurant, a Jewish center, and two luxury hotels, including the Taj Mahal. As a result, 164 people were killed, both Indians and foreigners, and over 300 others were wounded. The counter-operation resulted in the death of nine gunmen and the survival of one.

At the time of the attack, Kang was the general manager of the hotel. The bravery displayed by Taj Mumbai’s staff during the two-day attack has been praised worldwide and has been the subject of numerous case studies.

Atithi Devo Bhava (guest is god) is more than just a slogan for us. “It is something we live by, and it was evident in the world that day,” Kang said, adding, “That evening, there were 2,000 unarmed guests and staff fighting four heavily armed terrorists who stormed the hotel with the sole purpose of causing maximum damage and mayhem.”

Over the next 10-12 hours, my staff, assisted by local policemen, risked their lives to save our guests. We lost staff in our kitchens, restaurants, and even in these corridors. As a result of the bullets, they formed a human chain to protect our guests who trusted us to do so… Not a single member of our staff left,” Kang said.

The UNSC’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) met in Mumbai and Delhi for two days to discuss effective ways of combating the challenges of growing terrorism. As part of its visit, the UN body paid tribute to the victims of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. During Saturday’s meeting, the 15-member UNSC CTC adopted the Delhi Declaration, which addresses the use of new and emerging technologies by terrorists.

In an interview at Taj Mumbai, Kang stated, “As a survivor who lost his colleagues and family, we must all take a stand against terrorism by fighting back.” “My act of defiance was to stay back and rebuild this place for 1.5 years.”

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