Nation remembers 15 years of 2001 Parliament attack

On December 13, 2001 the five terrorists entered the Parliament complex and an hour long gun battle ensues, leaving nine dead and 22 injured.

Nation remembers 15 years of 2001 Parliament attack

In the wake of 15 years since the dastardly terror attack on Indian Parliament in 2001, the nation pays homage to the nine martyrs who sacrificed their lives while defending Parliament House on this day in 2001.

On December 13, 2001 five militants stormed the bastion of India's Parliament complex and led to the death of two persons from the Parliament Security Service of the Rajya Sabha, five Delhi Police Personnel,  a woman constable of the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) and  a gardener of CPWD.

The Members of Parliament and leaders from different political parties paid floral tributes to the bravehearts at the plaque in Parliament House in the morning.

On December 13, 2001 the five terrorists, believed to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, entered the Parliament complex around 40 minutes after the Parliament was adjourned.

Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi had already left by then, but many MPs including Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak were still inside. There were about 100 members of parliament in the building at the time.

The terrorists unexpectedly found themselves against the Vice-President's motorcade and, in a panic, sought to retrace their way; but, in the process, they brushed against a security vehicle and invited the attention and challenge to themselves.

This ensued an hour long gun battle, which was broadcast live on  news channels. Even though all MPs and ministers escaped unhurt, nine defenders of Indian Parliament died while 22 others were injured.

The attack triggered extensive and effective investigations which revealed possible involvement of four accused namely Afzal Guru, Shaukat Hussain, SAR Geelani and Navjot Sandhu.

Navjot Sandhu was acquitted of all the charges except the one under Section 123 IPC (Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) for which she was convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years and to pay a fine. Death sentences were imposed on the other three accused by the trial court.

While SAR Geelani was acquitted in the case, Shaukat Hussain's sentence was lessened to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court. Shaukat Hussain was released nine months prior to his official date of release, because of his "good conduct".

The Supreme Court dismissed Afzal Guru’s plea seeking review of his death sentence, saying “there is no merit” in it on 12 January, 2007. On 10 December,  2012, Sushil Kuamr Shinde said that he will look at the file after the winter session of the Parliament is over. President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's clemency plea on 3 February. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde cleared the file the next day clearing the way for Guru's execution.

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

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was believed to be mastermind of the attack, and India has been putting a strong stand in United Nations to name him in the red-list of terrorists in the world.

While the martyrs’ families suffered irreparable losses, India remembers the bravehearts with gratitude.