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Rahul, Kejriwal attend ex-serviceman Grewal’s funeral, slam Centre

Top leaders rushed on Thursday to a Haryana village for the funeral of a retired soldier whose suicide over demands of uniform pensions for military personnel sparked an ugly political brawl in the Capital.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2016 15:14 IST
Hardik Anand
Hardik Anand
Hindustan Times
OROP,Rahul Gandhi,Ram Kishan Grewal
Delhi CM Kejriwal meets Kitabo Devi, the widow of Ram Kishan Grewal during the ex-soldier’s funeral in Bhiwani. (Hardik Anand/HT Photo)

Top opposition leaders on Thursday rushed to a Haryana village to attend the funeral of a retired soldier whose suicide over demands of uniform pensions for military personnel has sparked an ugly political brawl in the Capital.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced Rs 1 crore compensation and a job for a kin of deceased ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal.

The Delhi CM, who reached Bhiwani to attend the funeral, also said Grewal will be granted martyr status by the Delhi government.

“Won’t let his (Grewal’s) death go in vain. Will snatch OROP from the central government”, Kejriwal said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reached Bhiwani around 10.30am for the last rites of 70-year-old Ram Kishan Grewal. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also arrived at the funeral ceremony.

Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala criticised the government’s response saying, union defence minister Manohar Parrikar should have come to Bhiwani to offer his condolence to the bereaved family.

“When it comes to demand of justice for soldiers, 125 crore people are united. But this government is not able to see the tears of the soldiers,” Surjewala told the media.

The funeral comes a day after chaotic scenes broke in the Capital after Grewal consumed poison as police stopped top opposition politicians from meeting the family of the deceased Subedar Grewal, who friends said unsuccessfully tried to meet defence minister Manohar Parrikar before killing himself.

Grewal’s death was overshadowed by political theatre, as Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia were detained by police for protesting outside the hospital.

Scenes of pandemonium broke out at Mandir Marg police station, forcing police to move Gandhi and Scindia around in a bus, first towards Parliament Street police station and then towards Connaught Place police station before being finally taken to the police station at Tilak Marg, followed for hours by a horde of supporters protesting against the police action.

Gandhi, Kejriwal and others have condemned the police action and said the family of an army personnel should have been accorded more respect, especially after his death. Kejriwal also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of dictatorial tendencies – Delhi Police reports to the Union home ministry.

The government has pushed back, accusing the Opposition of politicisng Grewal’s death and raising questions about the retired soldier’s mental health.

The death has sparked a fresh debate over the controversial retiral policy for soldiers, one rank one pension, which came into force a year ago. Grewal was decorated while in service and lauded for his social work post-retirement.

Read| Ram Kishan Grewal: An ex-serviceman who changed the face of his village

First Published: Nov 03, 2016 11:01 IST