'I can never forget the day'
Radha Chauhan recalls the day when Pakistani terrorists attacked the parliament 11 years ago; nine security personnel were killed, Chauhan received two bullet wounds
For Radha Chauhan (37), nightmarish images are still fresh in her mind of splattered blood and people screaming in pain in the December 13 attack 11 years ago when five Pakistani terrorists entered the parliament complex and opened fire at security officials.
“I can never forget the day. It is still fresh in my mind. Whenever I think about the day, I start shaking,” said Chauhan, who was one of the women security personnel at the parliament complex.
Recalling the day, she said, “I was posted at gate No 5 and on hearing gun shots I ran towards gate No 12 where there was absolute mayhem.”
Chauhan was shocked to see five men, later identified as Pakistani terrorists, firing at security personnel. She was fired at when she tried to help a constable, who later succumbed to bullet wounds.
Chauhan, who worked as a home guard at that time and now works as a sweeper with the Delhi government, received two bullet wounds. Chauhan claimed as she was working on a three-year contract, which had expired.
She was among the 18 people who were injured in the parliament, when at around 11.45 am a white Ambassador bearing a home ministry sticker entered the parliament complex. The car carrying the five terrorists banged into a stationary car of then vice president Krishna Kant.
When security personnel questioned them, the five men started running and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine security personnel, including five Delhi Police personnel. The gunbattle — whose loud rattle could be heard for miles around in the centre of the capital — continued for half an hour.
According to a senior police officer investigating the case, the Lok Sabha had been adjourned for 40 minutes and the parliamentarians were still inside the building when the shootout occurred. The terrorists were shot dead before they could enter the main parliament building where the two houses were in session with all top leaders present.
To the credit of Delhi Police, they cracked the case in three days and revealed it to be the handiwork of Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Police arrested four people: Afzal Guru, SAR Geelani, a Delhi University professor, Navjot, also known as Afsan, and her husband, Shaukat Hussain Guru. Geelani and Afsan were let off for lack of evidence. Shaukat Hussain Guru’s death sentence was reduced to 10 years’ imprisonment and he is now out of jail.
Afzal Guru was sentenced to death on December 18, 2002, by a trial court, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court on August 4, 2005. His mercy plea is pending and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said he will study the file after parliament’s winter session ends on December 22.
Senior officers said several teams were involved in cracking the case that grabbed the attention of the world. Although it has been 11 years, for the families of the victims it has been a painful journey after losing their dear ones. And they have only one demand: hang Afzal Guru.