Multi-Faith Event Opens Section of Mumbai Hotel After Attacks

December 21, 2008

Author: Narendra Joshi

Source: The Associated Press

A Hindu priest chanted prayers and a Muslim cleric read from the Quran as the Trident Hotel at the Oberoi complex reopened amid tight security today, three weeks after it was targeted in a rampage by suspected militants.

Sniffer dogs patrolled the grounds outside, police officers stood behind sandbag bunkers and guards checked bags and IDs as the hotel opened to guests for the first time since gunmen attacked the Oberoi and nine other sites across Mumbai on Nov. 26.

The attackers, suspected of being Islamic militants, killed 164 people over the course of a three-day siege, including dozens of guests and staff members at the sea-front Oberoi complex — home to the Oberoi and Trident hotels — and another luxury hotel, the iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower.

The main areas of the Oberoi and Taj hotels, which were severely damaged by grenades and gunfire, are expected to remain closed for months.

But with the holidays approaching, the hotels rushed to open sections to guests, assuring them security has been upgraded with more private guards, sophisticated baggage and X-ray scanners, metal detectors and stringent ID checks.

"We can be hurt, but we will never fall," Ratan Tata, chairman of the Taj owner Tata Group, told reporters shortly before his hotel was to start checking in new guests.