Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo
Just as the Jews were blamed for 9/11, with the justification widely quoted for years that , “there were no Jews in the Twin Towers”, its now India’s turn.
A Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Mail, came out with a sensational piece of journalism: no Hindu property has been targeted by the terrorists in Sri Lanka. Beside mistaking a religion, Hinduism, for a nationality, it turns out to be a blatant lie.
Quoting from the article: “The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that no Hindu property or worship place and no Indian business house were targeted during the Colombo attacks. Most interestingly, the suicide bombers, it appears, were very cautious that their acts should not harm any Indian business as while they attacked all major hotels in the area including Cinnamon Grand Hotel and Kingsbury Hotel, they simply preferred to ignore a top Indian Hotel, the Taj Samudra Hotel, that was located right amidst the all targeted hotels in the area”.
The truth is far removed, however. As per the original plan drawn by the terrorists of the NTJ, there were 4 luxury hotels that were to be targeted on April 14 in Colombo- this included the Shangri-La , Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury Colombo and Taj Samudra hotels. However, fortunately for the guests of the Taj, the bomber failed to detonate his vest, probably due to some technical fault. Taj Samudra is a property of the Indian-owned Taj Group hotel chain, the same chain that owns the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai, which braced the maximum damage during the terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.
CCTV footages of Taj Samudra, now available with Sri Lankan authorities, clearly show that the bomber Abdul Latheef Mohammed Jameel , a Kandy resident belonging to a wealthy Muslim tea trading family, checked in at Taj Samudra on April 13, a day prior to Easter, just like the bombers who later carried out attacks in the other three hotels. On April 14, Jameel was seen walking into the ‘Ports of Call’ restaurant at 8.45 am carrying a backpack and a small strolley bag. As per eye witnesses, he caught the attention of some of the guests and the hotel staff due to his suspicious behaviour. CCTV footage now show that he struggled with the detonator switch making multiple attempts to detonate the bomb.
In the meantime, his strolley bag, that he had left unattended in one corner of the restaurant, was noticed by a hotel staff resulting in guests being queried whether the bag belonged to them. It is likely that in order to avoid any further attention, Jameel decided to leave the hotel, stepping out at around 9 am. After leaving the hotel premises, he took an autorikshaw to New Tropical Inn in Dehiwala, which is around 10 kms away from the the Taj.
He checked in at the New Tropical Inn around 9.30 am and went straight to his room. As per statement given by the the hotel owner Sumith Wijela, Jameel left the Inn within 15 mins of checking in, returning only around 1.30 pm. He was carrying a bag when he returned. Within minutes of his entering his hotel room, a huge explosion ripped across the inn, more or less completely levelling the building. Two guests, who had just checked into the the room adjacent to Jameel's were also killed in the blast.
So while Pakistani media tries to peddle fake news on Indian links to the terror attacks in Colombo, a malfunctioning detonator switch saved guests at Taj Samudra on Easter morning and the Taj group from living again the horrors of Mumbai 2008.