NEW DELHI - Martyrs of 2001 attack on Indian Parliament were remembered Dec. 13 with lawmakers led by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar paying homage to them on the 12th anniversary of the incident. Leaders paid their respect both outside and inside Parliament. UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively and other members attended a solemn ceremony held in the premises of Parliament.
Retired Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was also present on the occasion. The leaders observed silence for a while as a mark of respect for the martyrs. Commenting on the anniversary, Swaraj said this year she was "satisfied that the mastermind of the attacks has already been punished." BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) supremeo Mayawati said the Government should ensure that all facilities are provided to the kin of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country. Inside the Lok Sabha, the Speaker led the House in remembering the martyrs who lost their lives while preventing the Pakistani terrorists from entering Parliament. "In this attack, five jawans, a CRPF woman constable, two Parliament security staff members and an employee lost their lives. Today we take a pledge to firmly face all kinds of terrorism and reiterate our commitment to protect unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country," she said. In Rajya Sabha, Ansari recalled the supreme sacrifice by security personnel to prevent entry of terrorists in the Parliament building and said their "sacrifice was of highest order." The House observed silence in memory of those who laid down their lives. On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons. The martyrs included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener. A journalist, who was injured, died later. All five terrorists were shot dead. A year later, four accused, including Afzal Guru, were arrested for the attack and found guilty after a trial. Guru was hanged this year in February after spending several years in jail. (PTI)