The family of 70-year-old retired subedar Ram Kishan Grewal is finding it hard to believe that a “strong man like him” committed suicide.
Ram Kishan’s wife Kitabo Devi, 60, wants to know what prompted her husband to take the drastic step.
Devi’s health deteriorated after hearing about her husband’s death. She only wants to know what prompted her husband to take the drastic step.
“He was very passionate about ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP). He had been travelling all over to attend every small and big meeting or dharna related to the issue for the past one-and-a-half years. For us, it was quite normal to hear on Monday when he said he’s going to attend a dharna in Delhi. He had said he would return the next day, but I received a call from my daughter in Delhi that her father is in hospital,” Devi said.
“We just request the government to at least now implement OROP for which my husband had been fighting. He should be declared a martyr and be cremated with state honours,” she said.
Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal served in the Territorial Army for six years before being inducted in Defence Security Corps, where he served for around 24 years.
In an audio clip that has surfaced on Wednesday, the ex-serviceman is purportedly heard telling his son, Pradeep, on phone that he has consumed poison because of injustice against jawans. “I’m a man of principles. I couldn’t see this injustice happening with our jawans,” he is heard saying.
His other family members back home, however, refused any knowledge of the phone call.
“He was a very emotional person. He considered everyone’s problems as his own. He was also very empathetic towards war widows. He must have got overwhelmed by his passion to help others by sacrificing his life,” Ram Kishan’s friend and fellow ex-serviceman, Subedar Umer Singh, said.
Ram Kishan is survived by his wife, two daughters and five sons. His eldest son Dilawar is a head constable with the Haryana Police in Fatehabad, while the other four are unemployed, despite three of them holding MA degrees.
“One can imagine his desperate fight for OROP when he has such a large family to support,” another friend said.
While four of his sons have gone to Delhi to bring back his body, the fifth one, Kulwant, is at home to support his mother. “We have no idea when they will bring papa home. We don’t want any politics over his death… The government should support us instead of making this time more difficult for my family,” Kulwant said.
Meanwhile, Grewal’s post-mortem was conducted late night on Wednesday, hospital authorities said.
Lady Hardinge Medical College Director Jagdish Chandra told IANS that the post-mortem was conducted late night on Wednesday and the body was handed over to the family.
Earlier, he had said that the post-mortem could not be done till Wednesday late evening as Grewal’s family could not be contacted.
(With inputs from IANS)