The narrowest escape

The terrorists had rammed their way through the outer gate, killed a lady watch and ward officer, and headed straight for gate 11, where they were surprised to find the parked, armoured car. Unprepared for this obstacle, their driver lost control and hit the VP's car. The VP's driver, thinking that some wayward driver had hit his car, went over in a rage to accost him. A terrorist aimed his gun at him and pulled the trigger, but it jammed, to leave the driver alive to tell the story of his miraculous escape. The terrorists had, meanwhile, come out and started firing at the security personnel, who fired back. We, seated in the VP's chambers, heard the sound of firing, unsure of what to do. One bullet pierced through the door of gate 11 and lodged itself right above the VP's door. It was that close.

The most critical coincidence was yet to happen. The terrorists' car was loaded with RDX, enough to blow up Parliament. They could well have ignited the explosive once they knew their plans had failed. But, owing to some providence, they could not activate the RDX.

Looking back, I still wonder what would have happened had the Rajya Sabha not been adjourned that fateful day, the vice president's vehicle and escort not moved to the front of gate 11, the vice president not delayed his departure and the RDX ignition not failed. The story of 13/12/01, but for these coincidences, could well have been different.

The writer, a former IAS officer, was Chief Information Commissioner

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