NEW DELHI: An ex-serviceman allegedly committed suicide over the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme, triggering a political row with Rahul Gandhi and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rushing to hospital where they were prevented from seeing the body.
The 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal from Haryana’s Bhiwani district ended his life yesterday by consuming poison on the lawns behind a government building in Janpath, the central area of the capital.
Grewal, who was a familiar face of OROP agitation, left behind a suicide note, his son said.
Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defense Ministry over the issue of OROP. However, Defense Ministry sources said as per records, no request for appointment with Parrikar was made.
Congress and AAP launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the OROP issue.
Rahul was not allowed to enter Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where Grewal’s body is kept while Sisodia was detained outside the hospital.
“I urge the PM once again: soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is their due. OROP must be implemented in a meaningful way! My heartfelt condolences to the family of Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal. Extremely sad to learn of his death,” he tweeted.
When he was not allowed to meet the family of the deceased, Rahul wondered whether democracy works in this fashion.
Slamming the Prime Minister and BJP on OROP, the Delhi Chief Minister said Modi was “lying” when he said OROP was implemented and termed it as a “major deceit” with the veterans.
“He is lying to the entire country. If it was implemented then why Ram Kishan had to commit suicide? The extent of the deceit of the BJP government over the issue, don’t think it has happened before. The army is being deceived and misused for political gains. His martyrdom should not go in vain,” the Delhi Chief Minister said.
Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said he was saddened over the death of Grewal.
“Saddened by the death of subedar Ram Kishen Grewal. I express my heartfelt condolences. I have asked officials to provide me with details,” Parrikar said in a tweet.
The Delhi Chief Minister also criticized the detention of Sisodia.
“Manish Sisodia detained? He had gone to meet family of deceased Ram Kishan ji. He is elected Dy CM. What’s wrong wid u Modiji? So insecure?
“Is a Deputy Chief Minister is arrested when he goes to a family of deceased,” Kejriwal tweeted.
According to his friends, Grewal, who served in the Army and the Defense Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the issue for some time.
A group of ex-servicemen led by Major General Satbir Singh (Retd) have been protesting against the OROP scheme introduced by the government.
He is now an adviser to a new political party, Fauji Janta Party, which will fight in the upcoming Punjab Assembly Polls.
The alleged suicide came just days after a one-man judicial committee on OROP submitted its report to Parrikar.
The Centre, which has implemented the OROP, a demand which had been pending for decades, had appointed the committee under the Chairmanship of Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.
The Ministry is currently studying the report and sources had said it will take a decision soon. -PTI