Mumbai hotel man’s bravery after tragic family loss
The terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, created victims and heroes and for one man an unbearable combination of both.
Karambir Singh Kang, the hotel’s general manager, lost his wife and two sons in the raid but his sense of duty made him stay at his post to help guests to safety.
He lost his family after they barricaded themselves inside an apartment on the sixth floor. They were asphyxiated by smoke while hiding in the bathroom.
Mr Kang, who was appointed general manager a year previously, called his mother in Mohali, Kandala, to tell her he was separated from his family and unable to help them and her reply gave him the courage to continue. “Go save the others,” she said.
His mother Kanwaljeet Kaur said: “He told me that terrorists have entered the hotel and his family is stuck on the sixth floor and that he can’t save them. I just said: ‘You are a brave boy, go save the others’.”
His coolness amid gunfire and exploding grenades helped many guests to escape.
Many hours later as the final gunman in the hotel was killed by commandos Mr Kang was finally persuaded to go home to his relatives by the hotel owner, industrialist Ratan Tata.
The bodies of his wife Niti, 40, and their sons Uday, 14, and Samar, five, were recovered after three days from the locked toilet in their hotel room.
Mr Kang’s father, Major General (Retd) Jagtar Singh Kang, told relatives that Niti and her sons had been trapped inside their room after fire engulfed several floors of the hotel.
Ardaas was held for Mr Kang’s family at a gurdwara near their home in Mohali. Relatives posted a message to well-wishers: “Now time has come to stand united and forget all differences, may it be political, ideological or religious to give a befitting reply to terrorism and those who perpetrate it.”
Mr Kang asked for support and prayers, saying that apportioning blame would not make up for the relatives’ irreparable loss.
With acknowledgements to Langarhall, Times of India, Express India and The Independent.
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