New Delhi, Dec 13: Days after their bitter war of words over a meeting with Pakistani officials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh greeted each other and shook hands on Wednesday at an event here to pay homage to the victims of the 2001 Parliament attack.
Also present were Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi, who too met and greeted Modi and other BJP leaders at the event in Parliament House.
A smiling Rahul Gandhi went ahead and met Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushma Swaraj.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Home Minister Rajnath Singh were also present at the occasion.
“We pay homage to those who laid down their lives protecting the temple of our democracy on December 13, 2001. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten,” the Prime Minister tweeted after the event.
President Ram Nath Kovind also remembered those “martyred while defending Parliament from terrorists on this day 16 years ago”.
“Forces of hate and terror targeted what we cherish most. India’s democracy and democratic values. They did not succeed. And we will never let them succeed,” Kovind said in his tweet.
On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex indiscriminately firing and killing nine persons.
Those killed included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener.
A journalist, who was injured, died later. All five terrorists were shot dead.
A year later, four accused, including Afzal Guru, were arrested for the attack and found guilty after a trial. Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013.