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Deccan Herald » National » Detailed Story
Die-hard spirit to the fore
Leopold Cafe reopens amidst desolation
From Kalyan Ray , DH News Service, Mumbai:
South Mumbai's famous Leopold Cafe - one of the first targets of terrorists in the Mumbai mayhem - reopened shortly on Sunday, as its owner said, "we would not let the terrorists win".


Broken mirrors, walls and pillars cracked with bullets and a huge dent on the floor caused by the terrorists’ grenade bear a tell-tale signature of the ghastly attack on the 137-year-old café.

On that fateful Wednesday night, two terrorists entered the café and opened fire indiscriminately, killing at least 10 people, including some foreigners and injuring many more.

They, however, did not stay in the café for long. They left through the café’s backdoor which opens in a side alley that goes straight to the kitchen doors of the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Business as usual

The café is being run by two brothers, Farhang and Farzad Jehani, whose family owns the place for the last 75 years. “We decided to open the café early as we will not let them (the terrorists) win,” said Farzad Jehani.
Two of the café staffs – Peer Pasha and Kazi – died in the episode and a third one is battling for his life.

The owners, who escaped the bloodbath as they were on the mezzanine floor for some work, have collected bags and others belongings left by the guests.  They are planning to either directly contact the customers  or hand over the belongings to their respective consulates if their identities can be found out. “People may be scared to come here for the first few days. They take a little time to cool off before resuming their visit,” said Farzad.

The café had to shut down in the afternoon as scores of Mumbaikars came to it, which all of a sudden became a centre of attraction.

While the Taj Mahal hotel and adjacent Gateway of India remained out of reach for the public on Sunday because of police barricades, a part of the Marine Drive in front of the twin hotels of Trident and Oberoi was made open for traffic.

But all the vehicles plying on the roads stop or slow down at the ramshackle sight of what till Wednesday was one of India’s best hotels. 

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