How 2001 Parliament attack unfolded and what followed

How 2001 Parliament attack unfolded and what followed

Eight security personnel and a gardener were killed in the attack and almost 15 people were injured. (Photo: K P Mallick)

It was on this day -- in 2001 -- that a group of terrorists unleashed a deadly attack on Parliament killing eight security personnel and a gardener. The terrorists belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammed.  

On the morning of December 13, 18 years ago, at around 11.40 am, when the winter session of  Parliament was going on, five terrorists entered the Parliament House complex in an ambassador car with red light and a forged logo of the Home Ministry on the car's windshield. One of the members of the Parliament's watch and ward staff became suspicious as the car moved towards gate no 12 of the Parliament House. 

When the car was asked to turn back, it hit the vehicle of then Vice-President Krishna Kant, after which the five terrorists got down and opened fire. Meanwhile, the Parliament security personnel was alerted and all the gates were closed. The open fire that lasted for 30 minutes resulted in the execution of all five terrorists. 

Eight security personnel and a gardener were killed in the attack and almost 15 people were injured. The ministers and MPs in the Parliament that time were unhurt. 
In a statement, later given by then Minister of Home Affairs, LK Advani in Parliament states, "It is now evident that the terrorist assault on the Parliament House was executed jointly by Pakistan-based and supported terrorist outfits, namely, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.”

"These two organisations are known to derive their support and patronage from Pak ISI. The investigation so far carried out by the police shows that all the five terrorists who formed the suicide squad were Pakistani nationals. All of them were killed on the spot and their Indian associates have since been nabbed and arrested,” Advani said.

He added, "Last week’s attack on Parliament is undoubtedly the most audacious, and also the most alarming an act of terrorism in the nearly two-decades-long history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India.”

On December 13, the police lodged an FIR, recording the attack on Parliament. The Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested the four other individuals named Mohammed Afzal Guru, Shaukat Husain Guru, Afsan Guru and SAR Geelani, who was involved in the attack, through the leads of the car that was used and cellphone records. 

Afzal Guru was a former militia of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) who surrendered in 1994 and SAR Geelani was a lecturer of Arabic in Delhi University. 

On December 29, Afzal Guru was sent on police remand. The trial court acquitted Afsan Guru, however, Geelani, Shukat and Afzal Guru were sentenced to death by the trial court. 
In 2003, SAR Geelani was exonerated. In 2005, Supreme Court upheld Afzal Guru's death sentence citing, “The gravity of the crime… is something which cannot be described in words.

The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender. The challenge to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India… can only be compensated by giving the maximum punishment… The appellant, who is a surrendered militant and who was bent upon repeating the acts of treason against the nation, is a menace to the society and his life should become extinct. Accordingly, we uphold the death sentence.” 
Nevertheless, Shaukat was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous punishment. On September 26, 2006, the court ordered that Afzal Guru be hanged. 

In October the same year, Afzal Guru's wife, Tabassum Guru, filed a mercy petition which was dismissed by the Supreme Court. On February 3, his mercy petition was rejected by the then President Pranab Mukherjee. 

On February 9, 2013, Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar Jail. 

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