The BJP insulted the army by insinuating that a former soldier who killed himself was mentally unstable and a Congress worker, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday, adding to a mounting political row over the sensational suicide.
Speaking to news channel India Today, Kejriwal said the central government was responsible for the death of 70-year-old Ram Kishan Grewal, who killed himself over alleged glitches in a uniform pension scheme for military personnel, called one rank one pension (OROP).
“The prime minister is lying to the country. His lies over OROP have been exposed by Grewal. Why did he have to die if OROP was implemented?” Kejriwal asked.
Grewal consumed poison in Delhi on Wednesday, sparking an ugly political brawl after police stopped top opposition politicians – including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal – from visiting the family. A convoy of top opposition politicians made a beeline for Grewal’s village on Thursday for his funeral.
Kejriwal took on the Centre, saying the Centre was using the army for political gains while “stabbing them in the back” repeatedly. He said instead of awarding military personnel after “surgical strikes”, the government had halved their disability pension and demoted their rank. “Grewal’s death has exposed the hollow patriotism of the BJP,” the Delhi CM told India Today.
Kejriwal pushed back against criticism that the Aam Aadmi Party was doing politics over Grewal’s suicide and defended a decision of giving Rs 1 crore to the soldier’s family and according him martyr status.
“It is sad that the BJP is raising questions about Grewal’s death and his mental health. Their comments are insulting the nation.Why did the police thrash his family?”
The Delhi CM also attacked the BJP over the alleged disappearance of a Muslim student from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Najeeb Ahmed. He said police weren’t arresting those accused of thrashing Ahmad because they were from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, linked to the BJP. “There is an atmosphere of terror. After Najeeb’s disappearance and Rohith Vemula’s death, the message to universities and colleges is clear: you won’t be spared if you take on the ABVP.”