This day 15 years ago, five heavily armed men dared attack one of the symbols of nation’s pride - Parliament of India. Later identified as the members of Pak-affiliated terror groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terrorists opened indiscriminate fire.
What followed was a fierce gun-battle lasting for nearly 30 minutes. One of the most blatant attacks in Indian history claimed the lives of eight security personnel who fought bravely to save the symbol of national democracy. A by-stander also lost his life, while all 5 intruders were shot down, before they could cause anymore damage.
The attack triggered extensive investigations which revealed possible involvement of four accused namely Mohammad Afzal Guru, Shaukat Hussain Guru (cousin of Afzal Guru) and Gilani (Syed Abdul Rahman Gilani) and Shaukat’s wife Afsan Guru (Navjot Sandhu before marriage).
Here are the 10 facts about the unfortunate day:
# The gunmen used a fake identity sticker on the car they drove and thus breached the security deployed around the parliamentary complex.
# The terrorist entered the Parliament complex around 40 minutes after the Parliament was adjourned. There were about 100 members of parliament in the building at the time.
# While then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi had left, many MPs including Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak were still inside.
# The gunmen drove their vehicle into the car of the Indian Vice-President Krishan Kant (who was in the building at the time), got out, and began shooting. The Vice-President’s guards and security personnel shot back at the terrorists and then started closing the gates of the compound.
# Constable Kamlesh Kumari Yadav, of CRPF was the first to spot the terrorists and was shot by them as she raised the alarm. She died on the spot. One gunman’s suicide vest exploded when he was shot dead; the other four gunmen were also killed.
# Delhi Police claimed that five militants carried out the attack and the names given by them were Hamza, Haider alias Tufail, Rana, Ranvijay and Mohammed all of whom were killed by the security.
# There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault. One of the attackers died when he detonated explosives strapped to his waist. The four others, who also hurled grenades, died in a gun battle with police.
# All MPs and ministers escaped unhurt .
# Delhi Police officials claimed that gunmen received instructions from Pakistan and the operation was carried out under the guidance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
# On Dec 15, 2001 Delhi Police picked up Afzal Guru, an alleged member of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), from Jammu and Kashmir for allegedly conspiring and sheltering the militants.
The day is a brutal reminder of terror threat that India faces on everyday basis and how brave each and every Indian soldier can be when facing it, on the border or within the nation.
Smriti Z Irani took to twitter to pay tributes to martyrs of Parliament Attack who made the supreme sacrifice while protecting our Temple of Democracy.
Tributes to martyrs of Parliament Attack who made the supreme sacrifice while protecting our Temple of Democracy. pic.twitter.com/rxWfNms6aJ— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) December 13, 2016