“Finally, on 26 November, the GPS had sounded their arrival off the coast of Mumbai, and they had called Karachi to find out what to do with the captured captain. It fell to Ajmal Kasab to act. He had just turned twenty-one and felt compelled to prove his worth. Two others held the Indian sailor down, while Ajmal slit his throat. Blooded, they jumped into a yellow dinghy that pulled them onwards towards the glistening Indian city.”
This is not a scene from an action thriller but an excerpt from the prologue of The Siege: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj, a thoroughly researched book on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. It’s a true story that’s as thrilling as any work of fiction.
The story is set in the financial hub of India, Mumbai. A city of extreme contrasts. Home to the destitute, the sick and the poor. It’s lavish hotels and mansions the playground of the sixth highest number of billionaires in the world.
It is in the spectacular Taj hotel that we find many of the city’s ‘elite.’ Surrounded by their armies of private security contractors and hotel staff, they sipped their cocktails and dined in fine restaurants, blissfully unaware that their protection is but a thin veil. The guards at the hotel were unarmed and the Mumbai general duties police were only issued WW2-era bolt-action rifles. Worse still, the police ‘Striking Mobiles’ had no ammunition for their FN FAL assault rifles.