It should have been sooner: Survivor
By P Hareesh | Published: 22nd November 2012 11:36 AM |
It was around 10 am Wednesday when S Prabhakar Reddy was browsing on the internet and the news of Kasab’s hanging caught his eye. He took it in calmly, feeling a sense of justice come over him.
And then his thoughts turned to the day when he was witness to the carnage that shook the nation to its roots.
“He should have been hanged a lot earlier,” says the retired banker.
“It would have served some purpose as a deterrent to terror if it had been done immediately. This hanging will deter no religious fundamentalist.” Prabhakar Reddy, then a general manager at Andhra Bank’s main office at Koti, was in Mumbai that day for the bank’s board meeting.
Within minutes of checking into a room on the 24th floor of the Trident Hotel, he heard explosions outside.
“Initially, I did not pay much attention as I was busy preparing for the next day’s meeting. But then I started getting phone calls from colleagues in Mumbai, asking if I was safe. Then they told me that the hotel was under attack. They asked me to lock myself in,’’ Prabhakar Reddy reminisces.
He spent the whole night talking to his friends on the phone and watching the mayhem live on television. In the morning, the cable connection was cut.
There was no food in the room, and he kept sipping water. He spoke to his family and assured them that help was on its way.
He shivers as recalls those 24 hours: "Our bank’s security in-charge Bhaskar took the initiative and harangued the security forces to let him come up to the 24th floor along with NSG commandos. There were four of us holed up on the 24th floor, myself and my colleague Suryanarayana and two others.
Freed by the NSG commandos, we walked down the stairs from the 24th floor, one step at a time. Those moments were the tensest time of my life. The terrorists were on the 17th floor. We felt safety only after we descended past the 17th floor.” Prabhakar Reddy said.