Press Trust of India

Opposition members raise security concerns

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New Delhi: The home ministry was on Wednesday asked to launch a security review of Parliament as members of opposition at an all-party meeting demanded a through probe into the incident of two persons jumping into the Lok Sabha chamber and also sought action against BJP MP Prathap Simha who felicitated their passes.

The communication from Lok Sabha Secretariat to Special Secretary (Home) came as Speaker Om Birla convened the all-party meeting in which members from different parties flagged a variety of issues and raised security concerns in Parliament’s new building, more so as the security breach happened on the anniversary of the 2001 terror attack on the institution.

Trinamool Congress members Sudip Bandhopadhya and Kalyan Banerjee cited the expulsion of party member Mahua Moitra for letting outsiders use her log-in credentials as they pressed for action against Simha.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanded a thorough investigation into the incident, noting that the day marks the anniversary of the 2001 Parliament attack.

Government sources, however, played down the chances of any serious action against Simha, saying it is a routine practice for MPs to write for passes for people and they cannot be blamed for their conduct.

Birla assured the members that all steps will be taken to step up security and rule out such a breach in future. Some members noted that the distance between galleries and the chamber is much less in the new building of Parliament, and suggested that glass barricade should be raised to avoid any repeat of such an incident.

Some pressed for deployment of full-body scanners on the lines of airports, while a few others flagged the crowded lobbies outside chambers.

RSP member N K Premachandran wondered if there was a Khalistani angle to the incident as the smoke from canister used by one of the accused was yellow, a colour associated with separatists. Khalistani activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has been issuing threats against India.

Speaking to reporters, Banerjee also faulted the architecture of Parliament’s new building and hit out at Home Minister Amit Shah for the security failure. “He must resign,” the TMC MP said.

Birla had convened the meeting to discuss the incident in Lok Sabha when Zero Hour submissions were being made by members.

Official sources said Birla has taken stock of existing security measures. A decision has been taken to suspend issuing visitors’ passes.

Chowdhury wondered what would be the government’s reaction if any opposition MP has been behind the passes issued to the accused.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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