10 years of 26/11: Months before 26/11, police had warned top hotels in city

Mumbai: Despite having no input from intelligence agencies on the Mumbai terror attacks ten years ago, the Mumbai police had forewarned the hotels which were targeted by the terrorists. In a Right To Information (RTI) reply, the Ram Pradhan Committee has stated that the Mumbai police had alerted top hotels in South Mumbai like Oberoi and Taj about probable attacks on the locations. Despite police warning and instructing hotel managements to beef up security, the hotel management ignored the warnings.

The Action To Be Taken (ATB) report which provided recommendations to the Mumbai police and Maharashtra government suggested there were glaring security lapses during the 26/11 terror attack. The report further states how inadequate was the mechanism to assess the overall situation back in 2008.

The report also revealed senior police officials had issued an alert on 9th August, 2008 regarding specific attacks on targets in South Mumbai like Taj, Oberoi hotels and World Trade Centre. Accordingly, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) Vishwas Nangre Patil visited all the places two days later and issued written instructions on security measures.

Senior Police Inspector of Marine Drive Police Station gave written instructions to the security manager of Oberoi in relation to the security measures. Patil also provided written instructions in relation to security measures to representatives of malls and multiplexes within his jurisdiction.

The report read, “In this regard, the Committee is of the view that the management of Taj and Oberoi hotels did not take suggestions for tightening the security seriously and did not implement the necessary arrangements. Considering this warning, the committee has taken note of the fact that Taj or other hotels did not request additional police security for their hotels.”

Ten years after the terror attacks, security audits of Taj and Trident are regularly done and all the necessary measures have been taken to increase safety. This includes monitoring the visitors and their belongings, monitoring the route of the rooms and other measures.

Acting swiftly on the recommendations made by Ram Pradhan Committee, police claim to be well coordinated with foreign and intelligence agencies. Speaking to The Free Press Journal, Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) assured the Mumbai Police today is fully prepared to take on any challenges similar to the terrorist attacks that took place on November 26, 2008. Bharti said, “The standard operating procedure to handle different types of terrorist attacks are in place. Responsibilities and actions are well-defined, and have been rehearsed by all respondents.”

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