A day after ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal committed suicide, allegedly over the One Rank One Pension issue, Jantar Mantar Thursday became ground zero for protests and candlelight vigils by the AAP as well as the Congress. As AAP cabinet ministers Gopal Rai and Kapil Mishra wrapped up a condolence meet and demonstration against the Centre, hundreds of Congress volunteers queued up for a candlelight march, led by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Once Congress workers began marching towards India Gate, police told them they will not be allowed to proceed and detained Rahul, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Brar. “Was detained by Delhi Police and taken away from Jantar Mantar. Police vehicle stopped at 5 Firoze Shah Road, enroute to Tughlak Road PS,” Rahul tweeted. He was released at around 9 pm, after being detained for nearly two hours. Talking to reporters later, Rahul said he wanted to give a written complaint to the police, asking why he was detained. “Perhaps for the first time, an MP goes to the police station and gives a complaint and the police says we cannot accept it. We have orders from above and we cannot accept your complaint. If an MP’s complaint is not accepted, how will a common man’s be… This is Modiji’s new Hindustan,” he said.
Asked why his vehicle was stationed at Feroze Shah Road for so long, he said, “I don’t know, it seems they got a bit scared. They were not getting orders from above and I was made to sit in the police vehicle for 30-45 minutes,” he said. Rahul said he was told that he was being detained under Section 144. Meanwhile, the AAP, led by the party’s MLAs and cabinet ministers, held a condolence meet and pledged to take Grewal’s crusade forward.
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“A soldier was martyred fighting not the enemy on the border but his own government, his own people. What a shame. Today, a BJP minister in Haryana claims it is not martyrdom but just a suicide… Farmers and soldiers are committing suicide. Are they all mentally unstable? Ram Kishan ji was murdered. He was forced to commit suicide,” AAP minister Kapil Mishra said. “Is this the first time a minister went to a hospital to meet a family? In the history of India, for the first time a Chief Minister was not allowed to move freely in his own state.”
Union Minister V K Singh had Wednesday said that Grewal’s “mental state” needed to be probed. On Thursday, he said, “He (Grewal) was a Congress worker. He became sarpanch on Congress ticket. However, he was our soldier. I feel sad over his death.” Rahul said the government should apologise to Grewal’s family. “The fact is that they were disrespected and the Defence Minister owes an apology to the family,” he said, adding that “the Prime Minister must implement OROP properly”.
A senior police officer said that they first stopped Rahul at Tolstoy Marg when he was leading a candlelight march towards India Gate. “At 7.15 pm, Rahul’s aide Kanishka Singh made a call to the PCR, claiming that Rahul had been abducted. He (Rahul) was being taken to his home in a PCR van (but) his party workers deflated the van’s tyre, so he was taken to Tuglaq Road police station,” a police officer claimed. Joint Commissioner of Police (spokesperson) Dependra Pathak confirmed the detention and added, “Rahul, along with other leaders, were brought to Tuglaq Road police station and released.”
Meanwhile, the investigation into Grewal’s suicide has been handed over to the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch, considering “the sensitivity of the matter”. Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Taj Hassan confirmed the development and said the Crime Branch has initiated inquest proceedings in the case.