Ex-soldier suicide: Rahul released after police detention from protest site

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was taken away on Thursday by the Delhi Police from Jantar Mantar, the site of a protest over the suicide of a former serviceman.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2016 21:41 IST
Rahul Gandhi,OROP,Jantar Mantar
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during a protest over the suicide of retired army soldier Ram Kishan Grewal at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday.(PTI)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was briefly detained on Thursday by the Delhi Police from Jantar Mantar -- the site of a protest over the suicide of a former serviceman.

“They are not letting us leave. They are not even taking us to the police station... We are sitting here (in a police car) for 30 minutes,” Gandhi told ANI after his detention.

Gandhi was leading a candle light march organised by the Delhi Congress unit from Jantar Mantar to India Gate when police personnel restrained him and whisked him away on a van. Soon after, Gandhi posted on his official Twitter handle: “Was detained by Delhi Police and taken away from Jantar Mantar.”

He was later released after being detained for almost two hours.

A former Rajputana Rifles subedar, 70-year-old Ram Kishan Grewal allegedly consumed poison at a Delhi park on Tuesday demanding the immediate implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme - which, among other measures, ensures equal pension to retired soldiers who served with the same rank and for the same duration.

“The police dragged (Grewal’s) family and hurled abuses at them. This affects the morale of the army standing at the border. We should respect them. The government should apologise...,” Gandhi said.

A police official said the action was taken keeping Gandhi’s security in mind as the crowd at Jantar Mantar was swelling by the minute.

Read: Kejriwal announces Rs 1 crore compensation, job for dead soldier’s kin

Grewal was cremated earlier on Thursday in a Haryana village amid a political slugfest over his suicide.

Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal joined the mass of people at Grewal’s Bamla village in Bhiwani district for his cremation. Gandhi met the dead soldier’s widow and other family members.

On Wednesday, the Delhi Police detained Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Gandhi and Grewal’s family members for several hours before releasing them late at night. No charges were filed against any of them.

There was chaos on Thursday at the Grewal residence with many political leaders, including Derek O’ Brien of the Trinamool, joining the mourners from in and around Bamla.

As the political war over the veteran’s suicide intensified, Delhi Police said it has started “inquest proceedings” into his death.

Read: Ex-soldier who committed suicide was Congress worker: VK Singh

The case was handed over to the Crime Branch considering the gravity of the issue, joint commissioner of police Ravindra Yadav said.

Grewal was the village head for five years and was associated with a number of development projects in and around Bamla.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, announcing a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the grieving family, refused to call Grewal a martyr because, he argued, “those who commit suicide cannot” be called be called so.

“He committed suicide for personal reasons,” Khattar said.

Shattered by the suicide, Grewal’s family demanded a probe into his death. His son Kulwant said the politics over his father’s death should end.

First Published: Nov 03, 2016 19:34 IST