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Leaders pay homage to Parliament attack martyrs

By Onkar Singh
December 13, 2010 12:51 IST
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On the ninth anniversary of the terror strike on the "edifice" of the country's democratic polity, Parliament on Monday paid homage to victims of the attack and pledged to resolutely combat the global malaise of terrorism.

Making an obituary reference in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar said, "Nine years ago, in a brazen attack, terrorists sought to unsuccessfully hit at the very edifice of our democratic polity, the Parliament of India."

She said the dastardly attack was thwarted by the valiant and the ever vigilant security forces guarding the Parliament complex. "Lamentably though in the process five security personnel of Delhi Police, a woman constable of the Central Reserve Police Force and two security assistants of Parliament security achieved martyrdom," she said.

Paying homage to the supreme sacrifice made by the brave security personnel, Kumar said the House "calls for concerted and renewed efforts to cope with the global malaise of terrorism. Let us on this day also resolve to resolutely combat the macabre designs of the perpetrators of terrorism."

In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari paid tributes to those who made supreme sacrifices fighting the terrorists. "December 13, 2010 marks the 9th anniversary of dastardly attack on Parliament by terrorists...the House recalls heroic deeds and supreme sacrifices by our security personnel who laid down their lives ... while preventing entry of terrorists in Parliament," he said.

"The deceased set an example of supreme sacrifice. The House pays homage and condemns the incident in unequivocal terms," he said, adding the country has to take a firm resolve to fight terrorism.

The members observed silence in both Houses as a mark of respect to those killed in the attack. Before the two Houses met for the day, the Vice-President and MPs cutting across party lines paid floral tributes at the photographs of those killed.

Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, BJP veteran L K Advani, several union ministers and other dignitaries offered flowers at the photographs in the Parliament complex.

As CRPF personnel gave salute, those present stood in silence for a minute as buglers sounded the last post.

The family members of the victims, however, stayed away from the function. "This is a function is organised by the Parliament secretariat. Please ask them whether the families had come or not", Union Home Minister P Chidambaram responded told after the function in response to a question why did the families of the victims were not present.

Speaking to mediapersons, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani, who was then the Union home minister, recalled that two dastardly terrorist incidents took place in 2001.

"The first incident took place on 9/11 in United States when a number of aircrafts were hijacked in New York and elseewhere. The primary target of the jihadis was New York where the twin towers of the World Trade Centre were razed to the ground. They would have also reached and attacked the White House in Washington, DC but the passengers put up a fight and the aircraft fell elsewhere. The terrorists had been planning the attack for years but the intelligence agencies of US could not unearth the conspiracy in time and hence they were successful in carrying out the attacks," he said.

"The other major incident was terrorists attacking in the Indian Parliament but watch and ward staff's quick thinking and prompt action prevented them from entering into the building. The terrorists had enough food for three days. If they had managed to enter, the Parliamentarians would have been sitting ducks and the ministers and others would have become targets," he recalled.

Additional inputs from PTI

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi