30 Nov : The NSG chief has denied that the terrorists made any move to enter into negotiations by sending demands to the raiding commando units."We did not received any demand from any of the terrorists," Director General National Security Guards J K Dutt said in New Delhi on Sunday.
He also refuted charges that the terrorists had planned to blow up the 105-year-old Taj heritage hotel, repeating the Marriott hotel incident in Islamabad which claimed around 60 lives and left more than 250 people injured.
"Terrorists did not appear to have plans to blow up the Taj heritage hotel as they lacked enough explosives," Dutt said after returning from successfully executing the operations in the financial capital of the country.
The elite force lost its two commandos — Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajendra Singh — while eight others were injured during its counter-offensive against terrorists in two of the three locations that witnessed the worst-ever terrorist siege episodes in the country.
Lauding his teams, Dutt said both his men made supreme sacrifices and displayed gallant acts while they continued their offensive against the terrorists who were firing indiscriminately from an advantageous position.
In its "Operation Cyclone" carried out in the century old Taj hotel, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan laid down its life while trying to save the life of his comrade, who was injured in the firing.
"He was able to push him from the ladder to safety…One of the terrorists lobbed a hand grenade on them as a result of which he (Major Unnikrishnan) was separated from his team.
"Instead of coming down, he went up from where terrorists were firing. He went up and returned the fire. He also warned the party, which was coming in for his rescue, fearing that they will be caught in a crossfire," Dutt said.
"The team did everything to pin down the terrorists, who were at vantage point, and after a gun battle, Major Unnikrishnan was hit and he passed away on the spot," Dutt said.
Havildar Gajendra Singh, who was involved in the Nariman House operation, sacrificed his life after he faced heavy firing from the holed-up terrorists.
"Terrorists opened fire on Havildar Gajendra when he was trying to get into the building to nab them. He could have easily come back but continued to advance.
"And because of his extremely gallant action, an opening was created and we came to know from where exactly the miscreants were hiding and firing from. The terrorists had also used hand grenades which exploded apart from the heavy firing and Gajendra laid down his life there," Dutt said.
The DG said the terrorists, who were at advantageous positions, were equipped with sophisticated weapons, ample fire powers and good physical stamina to pose a stiff resistance to the NSG units.
One GPS, which helped them in their movements, was recovered and besides, the terrorists knew the topography of the area where they were holed-up and kept moving from place to place to secure defensive positions, the DG said.
Dutt said his crack team had expected stiff resistance from the terrorists at all the three places — Taj, Oberoi (Trident) and Nariman House — as soon as they started with their operations.
Our objective was to avoid any loss of innocent live from our bullets and we accomplished that, the DG added.
On stationing of NSG units in different parts of the country, the DG said, "This is a matter that has to be considered by the government".
NSG DG refutes delayed action
The NSG Director General J K Dutt addressed a press conference in Delhi on Sunday and said the martyrs in the operation are the real sons of the soil.
He refuted delayed action by NSG in the Taj Heritage operation and added that rescuing the guests as well as the hotel employees was their top priority.
Dutt added that the terrorists did not appear to have plans to blow up the Taj heritage hotel as they lacked enough explosives for it.
The amount of explosives recovered from them does not indicate that they could bring down the building, he told
reporters after arriving from Mumbai.
During the "Operation Cyclone" carried out in the Taj hotel, the NSG faced difficulties due to the century-old
architecture of the building which has long connecting passages, spiral staircases and rooms with high ceilings.
Dutt said that terrorists were "quite conversant with locations" and kept moving from one place to another to avoid direct encounter with the commandos.
The NSG did not know where "one passage will lead" thus posing a hurdle in the operations.
The terrorists knew the places very well and preferred big rooms with high ceilings and single exit and entry doors
to take positions.
"They avoided any small rooms or kitchens where they could be easily trapped by us," he said.
The terrorists were setting the upholstery on fire to distract the commandos so that they could change their positions.
"The moment a fire was started, fire brigades were called in and we paused shooting. They took advantage of this
situation and changed their positions. We came to know about their tactics. Despite fire, we entered one of the rooms and shot one of the terrorists who fell out of the window which was even caught on camera," he said.