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Security Breach in Indian Parliament UPSC NOTE

 Security breach on December 13

  • On December 13, of two young men jumping into the chamber of the Lok Sabha from the visitors’ gallery, shouting slogans against dictatorship and releasing canisters that emitted yellow smoke.

  • But, this breach of security, on the same day, in 2001, when nine personnel of Parliament — of the Delhi Police, Parliament security personnel and a gardener — lost their lives defending the same citadel of democracy from terrorists – has a much wider impact and ramifications.

  • There are spike barriers, bollards, drop gates with the latest technology, scanners, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices, anti-explosive checks, and additional manpower that form the layers of security. 

  • A phalanx of men and women from the central police forces are deployed in the outer precincts,

  • Plainclothes men from the Parliament Duty Group, and the Delhi police manning the various stations and checkpoints in the inner environs.

Concerns about the current security measures

  • The breach happened all along the various layers of security set up for the personal screening of visitors to Parliament. 

  • The door frame and handheld metal detectors check for metals in one’s possession

  • There is personal frisking — a body search for hidden items. 

  • But neither door frame metal detectors nor handheld metal detectors can check for plastic or rubber, especially when hidden in one’s. 

  • In fact, shoes are never checked in Parliament.

  • The men who did the screening were following the usual standard operating procedure.

  • Later, in the visitor’s gallery, the security personnel were not watchful enough.

  • The marshals down below in the House, only used to carrying out named Members of Parliament (MP) out of the House,

  • Marshals failed to nab the two men hopping across the benches. 

  • It was some of the MPs present who were able to nab the intruders.

Role of Technology - Recommendations 

  • The responsibility certainly not alone with the men at the screening stations. 

  • They were only following the standard protocol.

  • A backscatter scanner can detect substances such as plastic and is being used in airports abroad. 

  • In fact, the United States and Europe have moved to using millimeter wave scanners

  • Those who are watchful move ahead with the technology of the times. 

  • There was an announcement recently by the Director General, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, that Delhi airport is to get full body scanners and computer tomography x-ray (CTX) machines to ensure more thorough but also faster screening.

  • A mere inquiry to look into the lapse and corrective measures may not be enough

  • This should be an opportunity to make sweeping changes in the security set-up using out-of-the-box thinking. 

  • The Secretary, Security, in the Cabinet Secretariat who supervises the SPG should also supervise Parliament security

  • The latest technology changes for access control and checks can be shared with Parliament too. 

  • The committee could induct specialists from outside and within the security set-up to monitor arrangements regularly. 

  • Looking into the array of various forces guarding the Parliament, having its security set-up under the rank of a Director General for better coordination and with full responsibility and accountability on him would be ideal. 

  • Finally, MPs themselves should offer their complete cooperation with the enhanced security arrangements in place.


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