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December 13, 2001
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'The militants had the home ministry and special Parliament label'

Kanchana Suggu in Mumbai

Three Mumbai MPs offer their reactions on Thursday's shocking attack

Ram Naik
BJP MP from Mumbai North and Union Petroleum Minister

The firing started at about 1120. Today the House was adjourned at about 1105 because of the Opposition's obstructive attitude. MPs were demanding (Defence Minister) George Fernandes' resignation and there was too much noise inside Parliament.

After Parliament was adjourned, (Railways Minister) Nitish Kumar and I had a discussion with Fernandes in his room. After the discussion, Nitish Kumar and I went to his (Nitish Kumar's) room. That was when the firing started.

At first people thought that they were crackers. We thought it was a marriage in the vicinity. But then we realised it was firing. It lasted for about 25, 30 minutes.

There are three entrances to the main building. Gate 12 from where the chairman of the Rajya Sabha (the vice-president) enters, Gate 1 from where members of Parliament enter and Gate 5 from where the prime minister enters.

The firing took place outside all the three important gates. But the militants could not enter the Parliament building. They were checked at the gates itself. When firearms and a bomb were found on one of the militants, the police started firing.

The car was allowed into the Parliament premises which is large and open. They were not allowed inside the main building. There are special Parliament labels for MPs and all the staff who require to come into the premises.

The militants had the home ministry's label and also the special Parliament label. How they got these labels is going to be inquired into. But I guess these labels can be printed anywhere. They also wore the Delhi police uniform.

I think because they had uniforms on and because they had the required labels, their car was allowed inside. But when the weapons were found on them, the security guards immediately gunned them down.

The cross fire lasted about 30 minutes. All of us were advised to stay inside our rooms. I was in Nitish Kumar's room which is next to Fernandes' room. We were about 20, 25 feet from where the firing took place.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's room is next to Fernandes' room. He had already left the building before the firing started. (Leader of the Opposition) Sonia Gandhi had also left.

There were about 150 MPs in the central hall of Parliament. We were inside for about one-and-a-half hours.

If Parliament's security was lax, the terrorists would have been inside the building. This has only brought home the suffering we have been going through because of terrorism.

Jayawantiben Mehta
BJP MP from Mumbai South and Union minister of state for power

Today, I went to Parliament at 10:45. The session went on till 11:20 and I was back after that. Parliament was adjourned for the day because there was too much noise created because of the Kargil coffins issue and POTO (Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance). Usually the next session starts at about noon, but today it didn't happen.

I believe the firing began at about 11:40. I went to Parliament through Gate 4, which is the normal route. Those going into the Lok Sabha enter through Gate 4 and Rajya Sabha through Gate 12.

Main security ko badhai deti hoon ke unhone aatankvaadiyon se sangharsh karke unko nakaam kiya (I congratulate the security for having fought with the militants and overpowering them).

They were not able to enter the gate. All this took place outside the gate, but within the premises.

Usually there are a lot of Ambassadors with red lights coming into the Parliament premises. Those inside the car are not checked. They only see the car from outside, but the people are not checked.

We all knew Parliament was being targeted since September 11.

Sunil Dutt
Congress MP, Mumbai Northwest

I was not in Parliament today. I have just been given a new house in Delhi so I was doing the grihapravesh puja at my home. Today, the discussions in Parliament were going to be about the coffins which were brought from America and their high prices.

It was just when I was about to leave that I heard about the firing. I believe many VIPs and members of Parliament had already left the premised before the firing took place.

I think the security system of our country is a shame. People now say if it could happen in America, it could happen anywhere else. But that should not be an excuse. Recently, there was a blast in the Kashmir assembly. These things are happening everywhere. Which is why we should be more alert. We definitely should have a more vigilant security system.

We always enter through one gate and that has good security. We always felt the security is perfect. I think it is a huge failure on the government's part. If they cannot protect Parliament, how can they protect the nation?

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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