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An MP relives the Taj terror
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
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November 27, 2008 04:56 IST

Bhupendrasinh Solanki, the Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament from Godhra, Gujarat, was at Mumbai's Taj hotel when the terrorists attacked the famous establishment.

He gave his account of the event, over the telephone, while sitting in a police chowki near the hotel:

"At around 6 pm today I checked into the Taj hotel. I am a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation. This committee looks into the rules formed by Parliament. We were in Mumbai with some 15 officers and MPs. Krishna Das, the CPI-M MP from Palakkadu, is the chairman of this committee.

Mani Tripathi, the BSP MP, and one more MP from Maharashtra was also with us. At around 9 pm all of us came to the ground floor to have dinner.

When we were eating we heard heavy firing. It was so rapid that I thought someone was celebrating with crackers. Then we heard huge blasts. The waiters told us that it seemed to be a terrorist attack. The senior staff then took all of us to the back of the hotel.

We were in the swimming pool area and asked to lie on the ground. All the MPs and Parliamentary officers were holed up there on the floor for some 60 to 80 minutes. We heard the sounds of firing without uttering a word.

One injured foreigner was also with us. We were some 50, 60 people, waiting to escape. We didn't know what was going to happen next.

I was thinking of December 13, 2001, the day Parliament was attacked. I was in Parliament that day. But this was much more terrible. Obviously, you feel scared. In the attack on Parliament a handful of people were involved and were killed, but here we were witnessing a huge struggle to capture them. It was horrifying.

I just kept quiet. We were told to escape from a back door. A Taj staffer opened a room, then they opened the back door and we emerged on a back street.

As soon as I came out of the hotel I called my wife in Godhra. She was unaware that I was at the Taj and that I had witnessed terror. I am feeling good and want a good cup of tea.

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