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Mayhem's Action Replay

The attack on India's Parliament had a larger gameplan—going for the PM's head

Mayhem's Action Replay
Tribhuvan Tiwari
Mayhem's Action Replay
Investigators who are piecing together information to unravel the conspiracy behind the December 13 attack say the militants had intended Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee as their prime target.

The fact that the militants chose to storm Parliament on Thursday at around 11.45 am, when the PM makes his appearance for question hour in the Rajya Sabha, was a well-thought-out move. Says a security official: "The PM was to have arrived at Gate 5 and move through to Gate 12 to allow him easier access to the Rajya Sabha."

Realising that their plans had gone awry following an altercation with Vice-President Krishan Kant’s driver, the five militants panicked and began running towards different gates. In fact, Anand Jha, a CRPF assistant commandant, who is part of the special group for PM’s security and positioned at Gate 5, spotted a terrorist in fatigues running towards him. The terrorist was firing away at will and had also hurled a grenade.

A senior officer in North Block, trying to reconstruct the possible sequence of events, says: "Once the militants realised they had been caught out, they began to spread themselves. Since the PM was to come from Gate 5, one of them moved in that direction."

He believes that if the militants had succeeded in eluding detection, they would have forced their way through Gate 12. According to security agencies, their objective was to facilitate the entry of the militant strapped with explosives into the building.

Says a RAW official: "If that had happened, it would have been mayhem. The militant could have detonated himself inside the building as he had several kgs of RDX strapped on him."

Security agencies say another plan—if all five managed to sneak in—was to hold some MPs and ministers hostage. "An unusual quantity of dry fruits and a number of SIM cards were recovered from the slain terrorists," said a home ministry official. The conclusion was that they were thinking of an extended hold-out.

It’s a different matter that the PM didn’t arrive as scheduled. He didn’t come at all once he was told by minister of state in the PMO Vijay Goel that the Rajya Sabha had been adjourned.

The parallels between the attack on Parliament House and the October 1 attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Srinagar secretariat has also not escaped the home ministry’s notice. The modus operandi on December 13 was almost a repeat performance.

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