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December 15, 2001
1330 IST

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Speaker may allow armed guards inside Parliament

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Following Thursday's attack on Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker G M C Balyogi will have no other alternative but to allow armed guards inside the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, a senior official.

He told rediff.com that top officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, including those from the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police, have come to the conclusion that the existing security rules for Parliament are basically geared for an era "long gone past".

He pointed out that with the security scenario in the country changing during the last 10 years, the existing rules left much to be desired and the MHA officials were unanimous that certain "additions and alterations" are needed.

Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani told reporters on Thursday that the question of armed policemen being deployed inside Parliament would be considered by the Lok Sabha speaker, since it is his prerogative to take a decision on the issue.

The official indicated that a handful of "unseen" armed security officials were already present in Parliament following the September 11 terrorist attack in the United States. Since there was a threat to Parliament following the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, well-armed security personnel had been deployed at "upper positions" to tackle any threat emanating from the air, he said.

Asked why those security personnel had not come down to help their counterparts neutralise the five terrorists, the official said they had been instructed "not to leave their marked position".

He admitted that the top brass had taken grave exception to the confusion among the personnel manning the two outer gates (Parliament Street and Vijay Chowk).

"It shows that the security on that fateful day was cursory and unprofessional," he said.

Among the security measures being contemplated by the government are that these two outer gates should be closed and all cars must enter from the railway ministry side.

Another important suggestion being considered, the official pointed out, was that cars and buses should not be allowed to drive right up to the portico in Parliament building's main entrance, Gate No 1. He said this suggestion had been mooted in order to prevent any RDX-laden automobile from ramming against the gate and causing "unimaginable destruction of life and property".

It has also been suggested that barring the VIPs (prime minister, vice-president, speaker and ministers), all others, including MPs and journalists, should park their cars or two-wheelers elsewhere, the official added.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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