The Oberoi Attack

A harrowing story of survival from a Friend

In my last blog, I wrote about seeking information on friends and acquaintances who survived, or didn’t survive the Mumbai terrorist attacks from last week. So far, it looks like none of them number among the slain or wounded.

I just got this report. It’s an account about an Osho devotee I‚Äö?Ñ?¥ve known since the mid-1980s and his harrowing experiences as a hostage (or better, refugee in the cross-fire) of the terrorists battling Indian paramilitaries in the Oberoi Hotel.

This story comes from the Edmonton Sun Newspaper:

***

Former Edmontonian Michael O’Byrne, one of the late Judge Michael O’Byrne and his wife Eileen’s 11 children (Eileen now lives in Victoria), is counting multiple blessings.

Many years ago, Michael left Edmonton to follow the late Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also known as Osho). Today, with his brother D’Arcy, he runs the thriving Osho program and publishing house in India.

Michael had just left the restaurant of Mumbai’s Oberoi Hotel in India on Wednesday to return to his room when terrorists attacked the restaurant.

Almost everybody in the dining room was killed.

According to a family member’s report, Michael then heard the hotel fire alarm.

People started walking down from the 17th floor. The elevator was locked.

Michael, fresh off knee surgery, couldn’t take the stairs. He returned to his room.

The fire alarm was thought to be set off by the terrorists. They shot hotel guests as they appeared in the stairwell.

The terrorists ended up on Michael’s floor, stayed there for hours. Again, luck intervened. They did not burst into his room.

The hotel contacted O’Byrne before the phone went dead, advising him to stay in his room, stay in the safest place, the bathtub.

And so he waited, some 50 to 60 hours through smoke and drifting gunpowder residue until Indian special forces rescued him and other surviving guests.

“We are all so blessed and happy that Michael made it outside,” says his last remaining brother in Edmonton, lawyer and businessman Casey O’Byrne.

***

I will share more reports with you all as soon as they become available.

John Hogue
(07 December 2008)

See Osho.

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