New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) The nation Tuesday paid homage to the martyrs of the Parliament House terrorist strike 10 years ago that led to a flare-up on the India-Pakistan borders, while families of the victims demanded expeditious execution of Afzal Guru, the surviving conspirator sentenced to death for the audacious crime.
'Till the time Afzal Guru is hanged, there will be no honour for the martyrs in the parliament attack. When the Supreme Court of India has given a death penalty to Afzal Guru, why has he not been brought to book,' asked 23-year-old Bipin Adana, the son of Delhi Police head constable Vijendra Singh, who was killed in that terror attack.
'For all the families who lost their dear ones, the main issue is Guru. Why is the traitor not being punished? This is really sad,' said Adana, who runs a petrol pump allotted to him by the government as compensation for having lost his father at a young age.
'When my mother died, I was very young and I hadn't even known my mother that well. Afzal, the person who killed my mother, hasn't been hanged yet, even though the Supreme Court has given the orders. I want him to be hanged as soon as possible,' said the daughter of Kamlesh Kumari, a woman constable with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), who perished in the attack.
On Dec 13, 2001, just around 11 a.m. when the twohouses of parliament assembled for the day's sitting, five heavily armed gunmen posing as security detail of a VVIP stormed the Indian Parliament House and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine people instantly.
The victims included five Delhi Police personnel, the woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper, two parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener. A journalist who took a terrorist's AK-47 bullets died later. All five terrorists were eventually gunned down.
A year after that attack Dec 13, 2001, four accused, including Afzal Guru, were found guilty by Indian courts. Guru, who is said to be a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, was the only accused to be awarded the death penalty. His mercy petition is pending with the president.
The home ministry has about a year ago recommended to the president that the mercy plea of Afzal Guru be rejected.
The attack on parliament complex had led to an escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan, as New Delhi was convinced that the terror strike had been masterminded in the neighbouring country.
Stung by that terror attack, India mobilised its troops under Operation Parakram for a possible war on its Western borders, despite the threat of a nuclear fallout of the conflict.
Fortunately, that situation de-escalated and the troops were drawn back to their barracks.
On Tuesday, the memory of the event came alive.
Vice President Hamid Ansari led members of both houses of parliament in paying tribute to those nine who fell to terrorists' bullets during the attack 10 years back.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other members attended a ceremony held in the parliament complex.
The leaders observed a minute's silence in memory of the victims.
Rallying behind the families of martyrs, Sushma Swaraj told reporters: 'This day reminds us that in order to prevent such attacks in future, not only should the country be more determined to stop these attacks, the guilty must be punished.'
Law Minister Salman Khurshid admitted the pace of implementation of law is slow in the country.
'We are not always happy with the pace with which the rule of law is implemented in our country and that is the reason why we have a mission for justice delivery,' he told reporters.
'We are sure that the matters are decided in court between three to five years. There should be nothing that goes beyond five years,' he added
A blood donation camp was organised in parliament by the Red Cross Society.