Dubai: A Dubai-based Indian couple narrowly escaped the blast at Colombos Cinnamon Grand hotel, which was one of the eight targets of the April 21 serial bombings in Sri Lanka, the media reported on Sunday.
Abhinav Chari and his wife, Navroop K. Chari were in the island nation for a business trip and were staying at the Cinnamon Grand where a bomb had gone off while the Easter Sunday breakfast buffet was being served, reports Gulf News.
Abhinav, who grew up in Dubai like his wife Naroop, told Gulf News that he has travelled out of the United Arab Emirates only twice and both times, he witnessed horrific hate crimes that were essentially religious terrorism.
The first such experience was in Mumbai in 2008 when terrorists carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks.
"I was in Mumbai in 2008 studying for medicine. It was a horrible five- or six-day ordeal."
Speaking of his Sri Lanka ordeal, Chari said: "On Easter Sunday, we went to church. In the middle of the service, the priest made an announcement, requesting people to leave the church premises...
"After we left the church we got into a taxi to go get some breakfast because that is what we would normally do after Easter mass. We started noticing a commotion on the roads and decided it was better to go back to the hotel.
"When we reached there we saw everyone out on the lawn. We thought it was just some sort of security protocol"
Navroop told Gulf News: "It was too soon to know anything on the news or social media, we still hadn't registered the scale of the incident. I could not believe what was happening in front of us. It was all like a movie..."
The deadly bombings that targeted churches and hotels, most of them in Colombo, claimed the lives of 253 people and injured over 500 others, in the bloodiest attacks in Sri Lanka since the civil war ended a decade ago.