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2001 Indian Parliament attack
Location New Delhi, India
Date 13 December 2001 (UTC+5.5)
Target Parliament of India building
Attack type Shooting
Death(s) 7 (and 5 militants)
Injured 12
Perpetrator(s) LeT[1] JeM [2]

The 2001 Indian Parliament attack was a high-profile attack by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists[1][3] against the building housing the Parliament of India in New Delhi. The attack led to the death of a dozen people (5 terrorists, 6 police and 1 civilian)[4] and to increased tensions between India and Pakistan and the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff.

Contents

The attack

On 13 December 2001, five gunmen infiltrated the Parliament House in a car with Home Ministry and Parliament labels.[5] While both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha had been adjourned forty minutes prior to the incident, many Members of Parliament (MPs) and government officials such as Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State (Defence) Harin Pathak were believed to have still been in the building at the time of the attack.[4] (Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Opposition Leader Sonia Gandhi had already left). The gunmen slammed 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. The lady constable Kamlesh Kumari was first to spot the terrorist squad. One gunman, wearing a suicide vest, was shot dead, the vest exploding. The other four gunmen were also killed. Five policemen, a Parliament security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 18 others were injured.[6] No members of the government were hurt.

Response

Indian Government initially accused LeT and JeM to be involved in this attack. However, Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any involvement in the incident.[1][3] 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 th accused) was found guilty of a minor charge of concealing knowledge of conspiracy. Mohammad Afzal Guru, also known as Afzal Guru, was the only accused to be awarded the death penalty for the incident.[7]

In 2003, India said its forces had killed the mastermind of the attack in Kashmir.[8]

World leaders and leaders in India's immediate neighbourhood condemned the attack on the Parliament. On 14 December, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed for the attack. Home Minister LK Advani claimed, "[w]e have received some clues about yesterday's incident, which shows that a neighbouring country, and some terrorist organisations active there behind it",[9] in an indirect reference to Pakistan and Pakistan-based terrorist groups. The same day, in a demarche to Pakistani High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, India demanded that Pakistan stop the activities of LeT and JeM, that Pakistan apprehend the organisations' leaders and that Pakistan curb the financial assets and the groups access to these assets.[1] In response to the Indian government's statements, Pakistani forces were put on high alert the same day. On 20 December, India mobilised and deployed its troops to Kashmir and Punjab in what was India's largest military mobilization since the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

Following the attack, many suspects were arrested, and in December 2002 four Jaish-e-Mohammed members were convicted for roles in the attack.[7]

Mohammad Afzal who is convicted of being part of conspiracy is now sentenced to death by Indian court. He was to be hanged on 20 October but the sentence has been stayed. His family had camped in New Delhi to meet the then President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam to accept the mercy petition. Also the family of Kamlesh Kumari, a CRPF Jawan (Indian infantry foot soldier) who died in the attack has said that they will return the Ashok Chakra awarded to her, if the president accepts the petition, but it is unclear if it had been done so. On 13 December 2006, the families of the deceased returned the medals to the government. As of April 2007, the then President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, refused to interfere in the judicial process[10].

See also

References

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