Intrusion drama exposes Lok Sabha security hole

Home ministry sets up panel headed by Central Reserve Police Force Director General to probe lapse; Oppn-BJP sparring match in House
A visitor jumps in the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (PTI)
A visitor jumps in the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: Reviving memories of the horrific 2001 Parliament attack, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed a major security breach when two persons jumped from the visitors’ gallery to the chamber around 1 pm during Zero Hour, released yellow gas from the smoke canisters they had slipped in, and shouted slogans. 

The two men — D Manoranjan from Mysuru, Karnataka and Sagar Sharma from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh — were overpowered by the MPs present in the House and handed over to security officials. Around the same time, outside Parliament, two others — a man and a woman — were protesting with similar cans that emitted colour smoke. Police said the woman was identified as Neelam (42) of Haryana’s Hisar and the man as Amol Shinde (25) of Maharasthra’s Latur. The duo also raised some slogans — tanashahi nahi chalegi (won’t allow dictatorship), Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jai Bheem. 

The accused reportedly claimed they didn’t know each other and that they were not affiliated to any organisation. However, sources said they were connected through social media. “All of them were connected through ‘Bhagat Singh Fan Club page’ on Facebook,” top sources privy to the probe told this newspaper.  

Police conducted searches at the houses of the accused in Mysuru, Lucknow and Hisar. Sources said that as many as six people were involved in the conspiracy and five of them have been detained. The fifth accused, Vikram, was nabbed from his Gurugram flat while the sixth person, Lalit Jha from Bihar, is on the run. 

None of the accused persons had mobile phones with them when they were detained. Sources said the absconding man, Lalit, is keeping their mobiles. Police said all of them met at Vikram’s residence in Gurugram before coming to Parliament. They all wanted to enter Parliament but only two got passes. Both passes were issued by BJP MP Pratap Simha from Mysuru. 

Meanwhile, Opposition MPs targeted the government over the issue, seeking suspension of the BJP MP who issued passes to the intruders. In the Rajya Sabha, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge sought adjournment of the House and Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on the breach. This prompted Union minister Piyush Goyal to accuse the Congress of politicising the issue. The Union home ministry has ordered a probe into the incident,  a panel headed by CRPF DG Anish Dayal Singh, with members from other security agencies, has been set up. 

What we know about them

1 Sagar Sharma (27)
E-rickshaw driver. Had jumped into LS hall. A resident of Lucknow. Had returned to Lucknow in August after two years in Bengaluru

2 Manoranjan D (35)
Hails from Mysuru, Completed BE in 2016. Got authorisation pass to enter LS from the office of BJP MP Pratap Simha. Got pass for Sagar too

3 Neelam (42)
Jobless PG who just cleared NET. Family claims she is an MEd, MPhil. Hails from Haryana. Had participated in the farmers’ agitation against the three bills

4 Amol Shinde (25)
Had left Latur village saying he was going to Delhi to take part in an Army job drive. A daily wager. Opened smoke canister outside Parliament 

5 Vikram a.k.a. Vicky Sharma
Neighbours in Gurugram claim he is an alcoholic. Did odd jobs. Detained by Delhi Police along with his wife Rakhi. Sharma hails from Hisar. The couple had left their house around 8 a.m. on Wednesday for the national capital. All other conspirators stayed at his house

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