Breach Of Epic Proportions In Parliament: 22 Years On, Lessons Still Not Learned

Breach Of Epic Proportions In Parliament: 22 Years On, Lessons Still Not Learned

The only question that remains to be asked is whether we care so little about what some call our Temple of Democracy?

Premangshu RayUpdated: Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 06:59 PM IST
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The incident of people throwing gas canisters in the Parliament is the worst security breach in the country in a long time.

It is inexplicable that people manage to enter the New Parliament House with such things. This is a place where very stringent checking should be and reportedly is done for anyone who enters as the country’s leadership gathers in the building to discuss issues and legislation.

Given this kind of security imperative, no one should be able to enter with gas canisters. In this case, two people did.

Members of Parliament do sign in people to sit in the visitors’ gallery. However, this cannot mean that security checks are done away with.

The incident is even more perplexing as it is December 13. It was on this day 22 years ago that five armed men attacked Parliament. Six Delhi Police personnel, two people of the Parliament Security Service, and one gardener lost their lives in that attack. The government at the time vowed to ensure that such an attack would not be repeated.

Wednesday’s incident is not on the same scale as the people who breached security were not found to be carrying arms. However, it was an attack, nevertheless, and in one major manner it was far more grave. In 2001, the attackers did not manage to enter the Upper House or the Lower House. This time they did and several of our MPs were present at that time. What if the intruders had been carrying firearms? It cannot be argued, certainly not after this incident, that they would not have got through with firearms. If they had managed to enter with weapons, the fallout would have been something that we would have found difficult to recover from.

Another factor that needs to be highlighted is that Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun had threatened that there would be an attack on or before December 13. One could well argue that this was not Pannun’s doing, but an attack did take place.

In the light of Pannun issuing a threat mentioning December 13, it boggles the mind that security was so lax. Do we not have the wherewithal to ensure that such incidents do not occur? The answer to this cannot be yes, despite the dictum that there is no such thing as foolproof security. The only question that remains to be asked is whether we care so little about what some call our Temple of Democracy?

Calls for the resignation of the people in power are bound to be made, as are calls for strict action against those responsible for the security of Parliament House. These calls would be justified.

However, what needs to be done immediately is to review security measures, including the response time for any incident, at all places of importance across the country.

This incident has shown how weak the security infrastructure is in one of the places that should be the most secure in the country and how easily this can be breached.

If the safety of the Parliament building cannot be ensured, what in this country can we consider safe?

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