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Friday, December 14, 2012

Sad specter of Parliament attack continues to haunt !!

13th Dec 2012 marked 11th anniversary of another moment of shame and anguish ~ the attack on the supreme Institution fo India – the Parliament.  Incidents like these and 26/11 show that our neighbour continues to be extremely unfriendly and hostile…….. in such circumstances, Cricket with the sole purpose of enriching the coffers of Pak Cricket Board seems totally unwarranted. At a personal level despite my following of the game, have decided that would not watch the Indo Pak Series nor write a single post on the game….  Read my reasoning on – why India should not host the Series at this juncture. :  Indo Pak Cric is bad idea

Remembering the occasion, the Nation paid homage to the martyrs of terrorist attack on Parliament. It was on this day in 2001, heavily armed-terrorists attacked the temple of democracy in New Delhi. Eleven persons including five policemen were killed during the attack by Pakistani terrorists. Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani and several other leaders paid floral tributes to the martyrs at a solemn ceremony.   

The event cast its reflection on the Lok Sabha yesterday as the place degenerated into chaos and bedlam in the Lok Sabha within minutes of the House assembling, reducing the sombre day into an ordinary one. Newspaper reports suggest that the  Lok Sabha was disrupted repeatedly with BJP members demanding the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and BSP creating a ruckus on the coal block allocation scam. This was the second day this week when the House functioned sporadically. Amid the uproar, the Speaker first adjourned the House till 11:30 am and then till noon. The House met briefly at noon and was adjourned till 2 pm.

Speaking to reporters outside of the House, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj said, "Real tribute would be only if the home minister assures the House today that we have paid tributes to the martyrs but their families and country will get relief only when he (Guru) is hanged." She added, "One question is still unanswered that the attacker who has been twice or thrice sentenced to death by the Supreme Court, why has he not been hanged so far."

Minister of state for home R P N Singh criticized Swaraj  stating "We have just paid tributes to those martyrs. I think it is extremely unfortunate that the moment we get away from there, we get into politics... I think to politicize this thing on every December 13 is not paying real homage to martyrs of this country," he said.

The 2001 Indian Parliament attack was a high-profile attack by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists against the building housing the Parliament of India in New Delhi. The attack led to the death of a dozen people.  On 13 December 2001, five gunmen infiltrated the Parliament House in a car with Home Ministry and Parliament labels. While both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha had been adjourned 40 minutes prior to the incident, many Members of Parliament (MPs) and government officials such as Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak were believed to have still been in the building at the time of the attack.  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 firing their weapons. 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 was first to spot the terrorist squad. One gunman, wearing a suicide vest, was shot dead; the vest exploded. The other four gunmen were also killed. Five policemen, a Parliament security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 18 others were injured. No minister or any MP was hurt.

Indian Government initially accused LeT and JeM to be involved in this attack. In December 2002, four JeM members were caught by Indian authorities and put on trial. All four were found guilty of playing various roles in the incident, although the fourth, Afsan Guru/Navjot Sandhu, wife of Shaukat Hussain Guru (one of the accused) was found guilty of a minor charge of concealing knowledge of conspiracy. One of the accused, Mohammad Afzal Guru, was sentenced to the death penalty for the incident.

Mohammad Afzal, sentenced to death by Indian court and due to be hanged on 20 October, had his execution stayed. On 13 December 2006, the families of the deceased returned the medals to the government expressing their anguish on the inaction.

The sad specter continues to haunt the Nation, 11 years still !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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