Congress’ Punjab unit president Amarinder Singh on Friday submitted a memorandum to governor V P Singh Badnore seeking the Centre’s intervention for providing justice to the family of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal whose suicide, allegedly over One Rank One Pension (OROP), has sparked a political row.
The party also demanded sacking of defence minister Manohar Parrikar for “misleading the nation on the OROP issue and pushing Ram Kishan Grewal to commit suicide with his irresponsible attitude.”
Amid statewide protests by Congress workers, Amarinder, who led a 20-member delegation of party leaders and ex-servicemen, urged the Governor to convey to the central government his party’s concern over the brutal handling of the situation in the wake of Grewal’s suicide.
The 70-year-old ex-serviceman from Haryana’s Bhiwani consumed poison in the lawns behind Jawahar Bhavan, which houses some offices of the ministry of external affairs, on November 1. He was rushed to RML Hospital where he died later.
Grewal, along with three of his companions, had come to Delhi apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.
Alleging “total breakdown of democratic systems” in the country, Singh expressed “shock and anguish” at the events following the suicide and demanded exemplary action against those guilty of harassing, detaining and beating up Grewal’s family members.
Singh told the Governor that the situation triggered by the “dictatorial behaviour” of Delhi Police warranted immediate action against the guilty.
“The suicide of Grewal over the OROP issue had come as the last straw for the armed forces, whose morale had hit an all-time low as a result of the downgradation of their ranks by a recent Defence Ministry notification and the discrimination meted out to them by the 7th Pay Commission,” the state Congress president said.
“As ex-servicemen we can feel the pain of the men sitting at the borders,” Singh said with Lt General (retd.) T S Shergill by his side.
Shergill said the issue at heart was not whether he was a martyr or not, but the reasons that led him to take the extreme step.
Senior Congress leader and MP Ambika Soni, who was part of the delegation, regretted the absence of any representative of the defence services in the 7th Pay Commission and said this showed total lack of concern for the armed forces by the present government at the Centre.