Rahul Gandhi and top Congress leaders were on Wednesday detained twice as a high-voltage political drama unfolded following the alleged suicide by a former soldier over OROP, prompting the party vice president to demand an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The least this government can do is to apologise to the family of the deceased soldier for making them suffer,” said an angry Gandhi after being finally released at night amid strong protests by party leaders.
At a joint press conference at the AICC headquarters, former Defence Minister A K Antony warned that “things will be difficult” if the government did not implement the OROP in toto immediately and remove the pay commission anomalies.
Holding the Modi government responsible for the suicide of Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal (70), a resident of Bhiwani district in Haryana, Antony and party chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala demanded that Prime Minister apologise to the nation and the armed forces for “misleading them” that OROP has been implemented.
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“The present government is responsible for this suicide. Modi government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister, is talking for last one year that they have implemented OROP fully, but have not yet done so. They have diluted the OROP as implemented by UPA.
“Government must implement OROP in toto at the earliest and remove all pay commission anomalies otherwise things will be difficult,” Antony said, adding had everything been implemented fully this tragedy would not have happened.
He added, “If is government has any kind of loyalty left for armed forces, my humble request to Prime Minister is please apologise to the nation and the families of soldiers for misleading them that OROP has been implemented. Such action has been unheart of in the history of India.”
Rahul Gandhi after his release said, “The minimum that government should do is to apologise to the family of the deceased ex-serviceman.”
The family has made a sacrifice and what has happened to them (their detention) is wrong, he added.
The Congress immediately latched on to the issue after reports of the suicide came in the morning with party leaders taking to the streets. Rahul Gandhi went to RML Hospital to meet the bereaved family and express his condolences, but was taken into custody and kept at Mandir Marg police station. He was again detained at the Tilak Marg police station and released late at night.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also met similar fate.
Striking a defiant note, Congress declared that Rahul Gandhi will agitate for the cause of soldiers no matter how many times he has to go to jail.
“Rahul Gandhi is unfazed and no matter how many times he has to go to jail, he will continue to agitate for the cause of soldiers,” said Surjewala.