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16 Years Later, The 2001 Indian Parliament Attack Is Not Forgotten

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| December 13 , 2017 , 08:29 IST

Relations between India and Pakistan were dealt a severe blow with the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001 which was traced back to Pakistan. A total of 5 terrorists, belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant groups attacked the Parliament in New Delhi, resulting in the death of 6 Delhi Police personnel, 2 Parliament Security Service personnel and a gardener, in addition to the 5 terrorists themselves.

On 13 December 2001, around 40 minutes after both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha had been adjourned, 5 terrorists infiltrated the Parliament House in a car marked with Home Ministry and Parliament labels.

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Although both the RS and LS had been adjourned, many members of Parliament and senior government officials including Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak were said to have been in the building at the time of the attack. More than 100 people were believed to have been inside the Parliament building at the time of the attack.

Armed with AK47 rifles, grenades, and pistols, the attackers drove their vehicle into the car of the Indian Vice-President Krishan Kant, got out and started shooting. In response, the Vice President's guards and security personnel shot back at the terrorists and closed the gates of the compound.

In the ensuing encounter, a total of 14 people were killed and at least 22 others were injured, although MPs and ministers escaped unhurt, with security forces sustaining much of the fatalities. According to Delhi Police officials, the operation was conducted on guidance from Pakistan's Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

The 5 terrorists were identified by Delhi Police as Hamza, Haider alias Tufail, Rana, Ranvijay, and Mohammed. Apart from the terrorists, 4 others were accused in the 2001 Parliament attacks, namely Mohammad Afzal Guru, Shaukat Hussain Guru (cousin of Afzal Guru) and S.A.R. Gilani (Syed Abdul Rahman Gilani) and Shaukat's wife Afsan Guru (Navjot Sandhu before marriage).

Afsan Guru was acquitted of all charges except the concealing of information for which she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and Shaukat Hussain Guru was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after lack of sufficient evidence. S.A.R Gilani was also later acquitted, while Afzal Guru was sentenced to death and executed on 9 February 2013.