2001 attack on Parliament: when terror hit the temple of democracy in India

Sunday December 13 will mark the 19th anniversary of the deadly attack on Parliament by terrorist groups linked to Pakistan. The leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), LK Advani, who was then the interior minister, called the attack “the most audacious and also the most alarming act of terrorism.”

On this day in 2001, a five-member suicide squad, made up of terrorists Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, attacked the House of Parliament, while the Lok Sabha was in session: cameras were suspended at the time of the attack, but several Parliamentarians and staff were present inside the building.

The attackers arrived in an Ambassador car and were able to enter thanks to a forged government sticker. But when the car moved inside the Parliament complex, one of the staff members became suspicious. Therefore, the vehicle was forced to back up and, in the course, struck the vehicle of then Vice President Krishan Kant.

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The gunmen, armed with AK-47s and grenades, got out and opened fire. The attack lasted about 30 minutes and the five terrorists were neutralized outside the building. However, five members of the Delhi police security staff, a female CRPF officer and two security assistants from Parliament Watch and Ward were killed preventing terrorists from entering Parliament. A gardener and a photojournalist also lost their lives.

BJP leader LK Advani said in the Lok Sabha that the attack “was carried out jointly by Pakistan-based and supported terrorist groups, namely Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. These two organizations are known to get their support and patronage from Pak ISI. “

Within days, four people were arrested and charged with being the masterminds of the attack. The case against the four, Mohammed Afzal Guru, Shaukat Hussain, Afsan Guru and HRH Geelani, dragged on for about a decade, with the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court eventually acquitting two and maintaining the death sentence of one.

Geelani, a professor at the University of Delhi, was acquitted of “need for evidence” by the Delhi High Court in 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005. Afsan Guru was also acquitted of charges and Hussain served time in prison. . Afzal Guru was hanged in 2013.