Former soldier Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide demanding OROP’s implementation, was cremated in his village here on Thursday in the presence of hundreds of people including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. A former Rajputana Rifles subedar, the 70-year-old allegedly consumed poison at a Delhi park on Tuesday evening demanding the immediate implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
WATCH VIDEO: OROP Suicide: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi Attends Cremation Of Ex-Serviceman
Hundreds of people from Bamla village in Haryana’s Bhiwani district joined members of Grewal’s grieving family. Congress Vice President Gandhi reached the village and met the dead soldier’s widow and other family members before the last rites. Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal announced a Rs 1 crore compensation for the family, saying the Delhi government, in line with its policy, considered Grewal a “martyr”.
Both Gandhi and Kejriwal were on Wednesday detained by police in Delhi for several hours — Gandhi twice — in an apparent bid to prevent them from meeting the bereaved family. There was chaos at the Grewal residence with many political leaders converging there along with hundreds of people from in and around Bamla. Gandhi was accompanied by Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kiran Chaudhary, Kuldeep Bishnoi and others.
The Haryana government announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Grewal family. It promised a government job to one family member. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien also registered his presence. “I have come here on the directions of our leader Mamta Banerjee to be with the (Grewal) family,” Brien told the media in Bhiwani.
Before dying, Grewal had telephoned his son Jaswant and told him that he was committing suicide as a “sacrifice” for the nation. Grewal is survived by his wife and five sons. Grewal was a prominent person in his village and was the village sarpanch for five years. He was associated with a number of development projects in and around Bamla.
Shattered by his suicide, Grewal’s family demanded a probe into his death. Grewal’s son Kulwant said the politics over his father’s death should end. “I don’t understand why they are playing politics over our father’s death. He was deeply committed to all causes which he was associated with,” adding that, “He should be declared a martyr as he gave his life for the OROP cause.”
Kulwant said his family members were illegally detained by Delhi Police on Wednesday, beaten up and harassed following the suicide on Tuesday. Retired soldiers have been alleging that the government has not addressed their concerns fully about disparity in pension payments.
They resumed a relay hunger strike on Tuesday for rectification of anomalies in the OROP, which, among other measures, is meant to ensure equal pension to retired soldiers who served with the same rank and for the same duration, regardless of the year of retirement.