Security breach at India’s parliament on 22nd anniversary of deadly attack

A man jumps into the lawmakers' area in the lower house of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, India, December 13, 2023.

A man jumps into the lawmakers’ area in the lower house of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, India, December 13, 2023]Sansad TV/ReutersCNN — 

Two unidentified men stormed the lower house of India’s parliament on Wednesday, in a major security breach that fell on the anniversary of a deadly attack on the complex more than two decades ago.

Video broadcast live on Sansad TV, the official channel for the country’s parliament, showed a man jumping over tables and running toward the speaker’s chair as panicked lawmakers tried to subdue him.

Another man standing in the visitor’s gallery was seen spraying yellow smoke inside the building.

The parliament’s session was briefly adjourned as lawmakers made their way outside.

Two more people outside the building were seen chanting slogans as police gathered around them.

All four people have been arrested and their belongings have been confiscated, Om Birla, the speaker of parliament’s lower house, told lawmakers as parliament resumed.

Opposition lawmakers raised their concerns over the security breach.

“The issue is very serious,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of India’s main opposition Congress party. “This is about how two people were able to come inside despite such elaborate security and cause a security breach.”

Another Congress lawmaker K.C. Venugopal said the incident was “extremely troubling.”

“I am glad there was no major injury or damage done to anyone,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Parliament is among the most high-security buildings of our country. Such a major security lapse is unacceptable. We demand answers from the Home Ministry and there must be a thorough review of the security arrangements in the new Parliament building.”

CNN has reached out to Delhi police for a statement.

India’s parliament was attacked by gunmen on December 13, 2001, who killed more than a dozen people. New Delhi blamed Pakistan-linked terror groups for that attack, plunging relations further and pushing the two nuclear-armed nations to the brink of war.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the people who lost their lives in that incident earlier Wednesday.

“Today, we remember and pay heartfelt tributes to the brave security personnel martyred in the Parliament attack in 2001. Their courage and sacrifice in the face of danger will forever be etched in our nation’s memory,” he wrote on X.

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