Attack on Democracy Will Not Go Unpunished: PM Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a meeting on Thursday with top ministers from his council to address the massive security breach in Parliament the day before. Sources reported that the Prime Minister expressed serious concern over the matter and regretted the incident, which he termed an attack on the temple of democracy. Modi instructed his senior Cabinet ministers to treat the security breach in the Lok Sabha “seriously”.
“Take this incident seriously. Don’t indulge in politicking. We all need to take precautions,” the PM is said to have conveyed to his council of ministers at a meeting before the start of Parliament session on Thursday.

Sources mentioned that Modi wanted to be informed about the latest actions taken and the directions of the investigation. He emphasised the need to apprehend the perpetrators swiftly to send a clear message that the current regime is strict.

“There should be zero tolerance for any such anti-national incidents,” a source quoted the PM as saying during the review meeting.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat suspended eight personnel for a security lapse incident that triggered a massive scare on the 22nd anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

The suspended personnel were from the Delhi Police, on deputation for Parliament security, and were responsible for frisking visitors and media persons.

“Although they are on deputation for Parliament security, their cadre-controlling authority is the organisation they represent, not the Lok Sabha Secretariat,” a functionary said.

In the new security setup for the New Parliament Building, Delhi Police personnel are deployed to frisk those entering the Parliament complex, while the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is responsible for perimeter security. The dedicated Parliament Security Services, who were previously responsible for overall security, are now limited to issuing entry passes based on recommendations.

The government asserted on Thursday that a high-level inquiry has been initiated into the Lok Sabha security breach incident and urged the opposition not to politicise the issue.

Expressing shock at the breach, several Members of Parliament stated that visitors must clear five levels of security before entering the complex, and signatures from an MP’s office are required for a pass to the visitors’ gallery. The breach occurred 22 years after the 2001 attack on Parliament.

In a statement shortly after Parliament assembled at 2 pm, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “We all agree that the unfortunate incident on Wednesday was a serious one concerning the safety and security of MPs.”

Joshi noted that Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla promptly held a meeting with floor leaders following the incident and listened to suggestions for further strengthening Parliament security.

Some suggestions given by MPs have already been implemented, he said, and noted that the Speaker himself has stated that in the future, additional measures will be taken to strengthen Parliament security.

“This matter concerns all of us, and we must speak in one voice,” Joshi said. On such a grave national issue, no politics is expected from anyone, the minister asserted. Joshi also listed past incidents when such breaches of security have happened in Parliament, noting that incidents such as slogan shouting, throwing papers, and jumping from the gallery have occurred in the past.

The minister informed the House that the Speaker has written a letter to the Home Secretary for a high-level inquiry, and the probe has already begun. Joshi also mentioned that it has become a habit for some members to politicize all issues. “I request them not to politicise this issue,” he said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has ordered a probe into the Parliament security breach incident following a request from the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The inquiry committee, headed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Anish Dayal Singh, along with members from other security agencies and experts, will determine the lapse in Parliament security and recommend necessary actions, an MHA spokesperson said.

Birla said that everyone is concerned about what happened in the House on Wednesday and asserted that Parliament complex security is the responsibility of the Lok Sabha Secretariat. “It is our jurisdiction,” he said, telling Opposition members that he is ready to discuss the security breach issue with them again.

Deputy Leader of the House and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that all should come together and condemn the incident, emphasizing that there is no point in protesting in the House. “All have condemned it. We need to be careful… We should not give passes to those who create disturbances,” Singh said amid the din.

In the old building too, incidents of throwing paper and “jumping” have taken place, he said, adding that there is no need to create disturbance in the House.

BJP MP Pratap Simha, under scrutiny for providing Parliament passes to the two accused responsible for causing chaos in the Lok Sabha with gas canisters, met Speaker Om Birla and offered an explanation. Briefing the speaker, the Mysore MP said that the father of one of the accused approached him for a visitor’s pass.