Different states, diverse backgrounds: Who are the 5 suspects in LS breach | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Different states, diverse backgrounds: Who are the 5 suspects in Parliament security breach?

BySunil Rahar, , , , Jind/mysuru/pune/lucknow
Dec 14, 2023 10:22 AM IST

They come from different parts of the country -- Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Latur in Maharashtra, Mysuru in Karnataka, and Jind in Haryana.

On the surface, little ties them together. The son of a carpenter who drove an e-rickshaw to eke out a living; the son of daily wage labourers; an engineering graduate who returned to farm in his village; a qualified daughter of a ‘halwai’ who hunted for a government job for years. They come from different parts of the country -- Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Latur in Maharashtra, Mysuru in Karnataka, and Jind in Haryana. Two were college graduates, two had only finished school. Two are in their mid-twenties; the other two, 34 and 37.

An India TV video grab shows the scenes inside the Lok Sabha after an unidentified man jumped from the visitors’ gallery, evaded MPs, and released coloured smoke. (ANI)(HT_PRINT)
An India TV video grab shows the scenes inside the Lok Sabha after an unidentified man jumped from the visitors’ gallery, evaded MPs, and released coloured smoke. (ANI)(HT_PRINT)

Yet, unbeknownst to their families, these four seemingly disparate people left home; and on the day the country marked 22 years of the attack on Parliament in December 2001, breached the security of one of India’s most hallowed buildings -- two of them rappelling down from the visitors’ gallery carrying incendiary but harmless coloured gas, while two others used the same cannisters while chanting slogans outside Parliament.

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As multiple security agencies delve into the antecedents of the four people who were in and around the Lok Sabha, there are several troubling questions that they must find answers to. Why was security so easily circumvented? Why was this day, of all days, chosen? How meticulously was this planned? And, as importantly, who are these four people and what ties them together?

The common links so far suggest they were not affluent, they were angry, and they were inspired by iconic freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Read Here: Woman arrested over Lok Sabha security breach a civil services aspirant, cleared teachers' eligibility test

In Lucknow’s Ramnagar locality of Alambagh, the family members of 27-year-old Sagar Sharma, one of the two men who entered Parliament, were in a state of shock. His room, in a dingy rented two-room accommodation has peeling green walls, a big iron trunk, a bookshelf, and a bed with two blankets. His father, Roshan Sharma, is a carpenter, and Sagar studied at the Bhupathi Memorial inter-college in Alambagh till Class 12, when he dropped out because of financial distress. He travelled to Bengaluru in 2021, but returned to Lucknow and drove an e-rikshaw for a living.

When he left Lucknow two days ago, he told his family he was going to a protest. “As soon as I got the news, I became worried for him. He had called me yesterday, but we didn’t know about any plan to breach parliament security,” his mother Rani Sharma, a housewife, said.

Read Here: Lucknow youth who breached Lok Sabha security, drove e-rickshaw and actively attended protests

One Sharma’s friends, who did not want to be identified, said that he was well-read despite his limited education. “He was very active in political movements and I would see him in protests in the city,” he said.

About 700km away, Neelam Devi’s family had beseeched her to stay away from political protests. The 37-year-old from Ghaso Khurd village in Uchana, the daughter of a “halwai” and the sister of two mill deliverymen, Devi had failed to find work despite qualifying the National Eligibility Test, and the Haryana Teacher Eligibility Test, her family said. Her mother, Saraswati Devi, said that her inability to find a job had left her despondent, and her daughter once told her, “it was better to die”.

She used to run a library in the village, but over the last two years, had taken to protests, participating in both the farmers’ stir on the outskirts of Delhi (where she was pictured next to a cutout of Bhagat Singh), and the wrestlers’ protest in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. It was after the latter that her family packed her off to a paying guest accommodation in Hisar six months ago, asking her to focus on entrance examinations to the Haryana civil services. “We were unaware why she had gone to Delhi. She was active in farmers’ agitation and wrestlers’ protest. Her unemployment upset her, but we asked her to focus and not to participate in agitations,” Ram Niwas, her younger brother, said.

In Zari village in Latur, the family of Amol Dhanraj Shinde, apprehended while protesting with Neelam Devi outside Parliament, had studied only till Class 12, and was preparing for the army and police recruitment examinations. He had once passed the physical examinations for the state police services, but failed the written test. He had told his father, daily wage labourer Dhanraj Shinde, that it was for these examinations that he would intermittently travel to Delhi, and visited the Capital three times in the last few months. Investigators now believe that at least one of these trips was a reconnaissance mission for the events on Tuesday. “He left home on December 9, and on the 10th, called us from his friends mobile phone number. Since then, his phone was not reachable,” Shinde said.

In Mysuru, the father of Manoranjan D, Deveraje Gowda insisted that his son was a “good boy” who read Vivekananda, and only wanted to “do good for society”. Gowda, who owns farmland in Mallapura village in Hassan district, said that Manoranjan had finished an engineering degree from a Bengaluru college, and was now helping him in the fields. Manoranjan would often travel to Delhi and Bengaluru and state intelligence officials said that they are investigating if these were to protest sites. Earlier this week, he told his family that he was on his way to Bengaluru, without giving a clear explanation. “Whatever he has done is condemnable. If he has made any mistake, he must be held accountable,” his father said.

It was Manoranjan who obtained the visitor’s pass from the office of BJP’s Mysuru-Kodagu member of Parliament Pratap Simha. “I don’t know how he got the visitor’s pass. We are voters of the BJP MP from Mysuru, and I have a good rapport with Simha,” Deveraje Gowda said. It was a pass that let Manoranjan and Sagar Sharma enter Parliament, vault benches, and let loose gas canisters, bringing back memories of December 13, 2001. Or, in their own confused minds, perhaps of Bhagat Singh‘s revolutionary 1929 act in Parliament during British rule.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Aakash Ghosh is a correspondent with Hindustan Times and is based out of Lucknow. Apart for covering local crime and policing in the state capital, he covers other significant beats including Railways, Science & Technology, Culture and heritage. He loves to write off-beat, human-interest stories as he believes it makes an instant connect with the readers. Prior to Lucknow, he is trained and worked with multiple print & digital newsrooms-based Mumbai, Patna, and Kolkata.

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