Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi joined the grieving family of Subedar (Retd) Ram Kishan Grewal early on Thursday as large crowd assembled at the funeral in his home town Bhiwani. The 69-year-old ex-soldier had committed suicide reportedly over One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue on Tuesday.
Several other top brass Congress leaders and politicians from Trinamool Congress party joined Rahul Gandhi to pay their last respect to the deceased soldier. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal too reached Haryana’s village.
The issue snowballed on Wednesday as major protests broke out in the streets of New Delhi after Delhi Police, with its tight bandobast and large contingent quelled the reach out to Grewal’s family members.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was detained twice by Delhi Police before being released late in the evening on Wednesday as he attempted to meet Grewal’s family at the RML hospital. His detention led to the series of police action as several other Congress leaders were held after impromptu protests at various places. Many Congress MPs courted arrest as well.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, too along with AAP leaders were detained by the Delhi Police. They were finally let-off late in the night. Today he announced Rs 1 crore compensation as he met the bereaved family in Bhiwani.
“I want the people to take his fight forward. We will fight till our last breath and snatch OROP from the Centre. Our soldiers deserve what is their due,” Kejriwal told reporters here.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, however, accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal of indulging in vote bank politics, saying people are tired of their “dramas”.
On tuesday afternoon, 70-year-old Subedar (Retd) Ram Kishan Grewal, a resident of Haryana, had committed suicide by consuming poison at a park behind the Jawahar Bhavan in New Delhi, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs. According to his friends, the veteran, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the OROP issue for some time.
Probing the matter, Delhi Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.
According to reports, the deceased soldier wrote his suicide note on a document he wanted to submit to the Defence Ministry. He wrote, “I am sacrificing my life for my country, my motherland and for my brave fellow jawans,” the police said.
By late in the evening on Wednesday, several news network got access to an audio clip of Grewal’s last conversation with his son.
In that taped conversation, he purportedly told his son that “he had consumed poison and was sacrificing for OROP and his fellow jawans who were not getting their due.”
The matter, including the circumstance under which he took the step of consuming poison, is under probe. Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar too had sought details from his ministry.
(With inputs from the PTI)