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Home / India News / 2001 Parliament attack: ‘A shot missed me and possibly hit a reporter’

2001 Parliament attack: ‘A shot missed me and possibly hit a reporter’

india Updated: Dec 13, 2019 07:16 IST

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Security personnel seen during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. Image used for representational purpose only.
Security personnel seen during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. Image used for representational purpose only.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
         

In those days, the Opposition was up in arms over alleged nepotism in the allocation of petrol pump dealerships. Almost every day, the House would be adjourned within a few minutes after start. On that fateful day in the winter session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha got adjourned and I came out of Gate 1 (the main gate opposite the statue of Mahatma Gandhi) to go to the Rail Bhawan for some work. I suddenly heard sounds as if someone had burst crackers. Since I have never seen how bullets are fired in real life, I didn’t have the slightest inkling that guns are being fired. But as the sound was coming from my right side, I turned towards that side. The first visual I saw was a gardener, who was giving water to plants, suddenly slumped to the ground. Within a few seconds, a security personnel clad in combat fatigue also fell down. I was so surprised that I didn’t move.

From a distance, a figure emerged holding a gun and he turned towards me. His shot missed me by a few inches and possibly hit a reporter. Then, a security person screamed from behind the main gate, “Aatankvadi ghus gaya. Bhaago.” I took barely 4-5 steps before I fell on the ground just beside the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. At that time, security forces also began to retaliate. I was lying on the ground and could sense that the number of bullet shots had increased.

I moved behind a short pillar as bullets were literary flying from all directions above my head. For about 15 minutes, I was sitting beside the pillar and after some time, the action shifted to an area farther away from where I sat haplessly. The doors of the parliament building were closed. I took this opportunity to run out of the parliament complex towards Vijay Chowk. There used to be a taxi stand outside the House complex. I ran towards the taxis and hid in a car’s belly for some time. It’s a day I will never forget in my life.

(As told to Saubhadra Chatterji)

Kharabela Swain was an MP at the time of the attack

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