Mumbai bombing hotel reopens for business

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The Independent Online

Holding balloons and flowers, employees have pledged to rededicate themselves to the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai when it reopens this weekend after the militant attacks in 2008 in which guests and staff members died.

The hotel, which was extensively damaged in a siege involving four heavily armed gunmen, was one of several landmarks in Mumbai attacked by militants based in Pakistan. The November strikes, which lasted over 60 hours, killed 166 people.

Standing on the grand cantilever stairway, staff cheered and tossed rose petals in the air on Thursday as the chairman, Ratan Tata, garlanded a bust of the founder of the Tata Group, which owns the luxury Taj hotels.

"This flagship property, this venerable Old Lady, is going to reopen in the same glory, the same splendour of more than 100 years," Tata said, his voice cracking, ahead of the hotel's scheduled reopening tomorrow, on India's independence day.