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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 23:29 GMT
India attack prompts crackdown
Policeman stops car in Srinagar
Security is now tight across India
India is launching a nationwide security operation, after a suicide attack at the parliament in Delhi left 12 people dead.


This was an attack not just on Parliament House, but a warning to the entire country

Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said it was "a warning to the entire country" and that India would wage a "do or die" war against terrorism.

Parliament will meet as planned on Friday for the last day of the current session, with police and paramilitary reinforcements on duty.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which Indian Home Minister L K Advani said was similar to an October strike against the Kashmir state assembly by separatist militants.

Mr Advani is now likely to urge regional assemblies to step up security, and give top priority to a controversial anti-terrorism bill, the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance.

Government stickers

Five attackers, armed with guns and hand grenades and wearing military-style fatigues, burst into the red sandstone parliament complex shortly before noon local time.

Police at parliament in Delhi
The gunbattle continued for almost an hour`
They arrived in a car of a type used by government officials, with stickers from the Home Ministry on its windscreen.

A gunbattle raged for almost an hour, with police crouching behind cars, trees and the corners of the building in a dramatic stand-off broadcast live on television.

According to witnesses, one of the gunmen had explosives strapped to his body, and was blown up after bullets tore him apart.

A bomb found in the complex was later detonated in a controlled explosion.

All five attackers were killed, as well as four police officers, one unarmed parliament guard, a paramilitary constable and a gardener.

No members of parliament or ministers were hurt.

Eighteen people were being treated for injuries and six were in critical condition on Thursday evening.

Looking for links

Mr Advani suggested that the attack could be linked with the 11 September events in the United States.

Indian National Assembly building
The battle raged for an hour outside parliament
Mr Advani said India had received warnings of a possible attack following the defeat of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

Pakistan - accused by India of supporting and sheltering Kashmiri separatists - quickly condemned the attack, as did militant groups in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Member of parliament A P Jeetendra Reddy said: "It's really a bad day for India. For something like this to happen in parliament is a disgrace. This is supposed to be a highly secure and sacred area."

Witnesses spoke of disbelief and confusion as the first shots were fired, with about 100 MPs in parliament, which had just adjourned when the attack began.

Indian policeman
The government will press on with its anti-terrorism legislation
"I heard a cracker-like sound near the entrance, then I saw people running helter-skelter," said MP Kharbala Sain.

"I couldn't understand who the terrorists were and who the police were."

The US, Britain and many other countries condemned what is believed to have been the first attack on the highest legislative body in the world's largest democracy.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"The gunmen had been allowed through the security cordon"
Pramod Mahajan, Parliamentary Affairs Minister
"An attack on Indian democracy"
See also:

13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan leads world condemnation
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kashmir groups condemn attack
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