A NORTH West Euro MP has told how terrorists mowed people down around him with a machine gun at the Mumbai hotel where he was staying.
Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim, who represents the region including Cheshire, had been in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel a matter of minutes when he heard gunfire.
Speaking from a place of safety in another hotel, he told the BBC: “I made my way out of the main entrance and then all of a sudden quite a lot of people started running from the main street towards the hotel and shouting that there was some firing taking place.
“It was all quite a confusing situation. We were all then told to get back in to the main lobby of the hotel, which we did. Then I could hear gunshots coming from the front of the hotel.”
Mr Karim, who is part of a delegation of Euro MPs visiting Mumbai ahead of the forthcoming EU-India summit, added: “A lot of the people who were in the lobby saw this and started to run in the opposite direction and I did likewise.
“Then we got to the other end of the lobby and, as we were coming to the rear entrance of the hotel – there was a group of about 17 or 18 of us – another gunman appeared and started firing at us.
“People that were in front of me started to fall and about three or four of us managed to somehow get away. It was all very quick really.
“It is hard to comprehend a situation like that. The only thing that really came into my mind was to try to remove myself as quickly as I could from the situation. I turned around and just ran to one side, half-expecting really for something to hit me.”
Mr Karim, who addressed a media briefing for The Chronicle and others in Manchester last Friday ahead of next year’s European elections, said he went down a side corridor and into a kitchen area before being barricaded into a room for more than six hours.
When the group eventually emerged, there was no sign of any bodies – but Mr Karim, who lives with his wife Zahida in Simonstone in the Ribble Valley, was certain several people had been shot.
At first, he decided not to ring his wife and family for fear of worrying them but, on learning of the extent of the terrorist attack and the worldwide media coverage, he thought it to best to call her from his mobile phone.
“I explained the situation and just tried to give them as much reassurance as I could,” he said.
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