Storm in Delhi over OROP suicide: Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi draw battlelines in thana

On Wednesday morning, police prevented Rahul Gandhi from entering the hospital to meet the victim’s family and detained Sisodia at the premises.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2016 1:35 pm
orop, orop issue, orop protest, orop suicide, ex-serviceman suicide, One Rank One Pension, One Rank One Pension suicide, india news, indian express, indian express news New Delhi: Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi being carried in a police bus from Parliament Street Police Station in New Delhi on Wednesday. Gandhi was earlier detained after he tried to meet family members of a retired army soldier who allegedly committed suicide over One Rank, One Pension scheme. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist (PTI11_2_2016_000276B)

A 70-YEAR-OLD ex-serviceman committed suicide by consuming poison at Janpath on Tuesday, allegedly over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, triggering a political firestorm and leading to dramatic scenes in the capital today, with police detaining Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

WATCH VIDEO: Here’s What Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Thinks Is A Matter Of Concern

Doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said that ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal was brought to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and died a few hours later during the treatment. The victim’s associates claimed that he had consumed “Salfas tablets” at around 1 pm, after being allegedly denied permission to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to hand over a petition on “full implementation” of the OROP scheme.

On Wednesday morning, police prevented Rahul Gandhi from entering the hospital to meet the victim’s family and detained Sisodia at the premises. Later, police detained Gandhi, too, and took both leaders to the Mandir Marg police station. Kejriwal was detained later at the Lady Hardinge Hospital where Grewal’s body had been taken around 7.30 am for post-mortem.

Kejriwal was confined in his car for hours outside the Lady Hardinge hospital before being taken to the R K Puram station — he was at the station until nearly midnight after . Gandhi was detained again later while trying to meet Grewal’s family.

Police also detained some of Grewal’s family members, including his two sons, other retired servicemen and Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kiran Chaudhary. They were held at different police stations in the city for a few hours before being allowed to leave.

WATCH VIDEO: OROP Suicide: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi Attends Cremation Of Ex-Serviceman

While Gandhi and Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre over the suicide, police action and OROP issue, Defence Minister Parrikar expressed his “heartfelt condolences” over Grewal’s death and said that he has asked his ministry to provide him with details.

Union Minister V K Singh, however, questioned the “mental state” of Grewal. “He has committed suicide. No one knows the reason behind it. OROP is being shown as the reason. What his mental state was we do not know. Let it be probed first. OROP should be kept above politics,” Singh told reporters. Singh’s statement was slammed by Opposition parties, with Congress leader R P N Singh saying that it was “unbecoming” of a former Army chief to bring the mental state of a deceased veteran into question. “It is unfortunate that a former Army chief is raising such questions,” said the former Union minister.

WATCH VIDEO: OROP Suicide: BJP & Congress Engage In War Of Words Over Rahul Gandhi’s Detention

Delhi Police said they had blocked entry to the hospitals to avoid “disruption of health services”. A spokesperson said that that action was taken according to law and that all the leaders were detained under Section 65 the Delhi Police Act, for disregarding police directions, and later allowed to go.

Hitting out at the government, Gandhi said that he had only wanted to meet Grewal’s family “for two minutes to share their grief”. “The government locked up the family the whole day. I went to the hospital alone, all the gates were closed. When the family came out to meet me, they were pushed and beaten and bundled into a jeep and taken to the station,” he said.

He later tweeted: “I urge the PM once again: soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is their due. OROP must be implemented in a meaningful way.” Kejriwal accused the government of indulging in violence. “If someone commits suicide, can’t I come and meet the family? Can the government be indulging in goonda gardi?” he asked.

“The Army is being deceived and misused for political gains. His (Grewal’s) martyrdom should not go in vain,” said Kejriwal. Sisodia described his detention as a “non-democratic action”. “How can you push me in the bus when I have come to meet the family without creating any problem?” he said.

The BJP hit back by accusing Gandhi and Kejriwal of indulging in “politics over death” and saying that the government had fulfilled its commitment on OROP, unlike the previous governments headed by the Congress. “The suicide of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal is unfortunate and our sympathies are with his family. What is even more unfortunate is the politics over his death. As far as OROP is concerned, the government has fulfilled its commitment and ex-servicemen are benefitting from it,” said Shrikant Sharma, the party’s national secretary.

“What Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal are doing is nothing but politics over death. It seems they keep looking to do politics wherever such deaths occur,” said Sharma said in a statement. Parrikar, meanwhile, tweeted: “Saddened by the death of subedar Ram Kishan Grewal. I express my heartfelt condolences. I have asked officials to provide me with details.”

According to friends and relatives of Grewal, he was part of the long-running protest by a group of ex-servicemen at Janpath seeking the implementation of the OROP scheme. They said that Grewal, who hailed from Bhiwani in Haryana, had served in the Army and Defence Security Corps (DSC) for 30 years. Grewal’s son said that his father had left behind a suicide note.

Defence ministry sources said Grewal had served the Territorial Army for six years and 11 months after which he served in the DSC. Sources said there may have been a delay in Grewal receiving the revised pension “due to problems in calculation at his bank”. His case could have been resolved if he had directly approached the ministry, they claimed.

“It demands a serious investigation into who was with the deceased when he took the extreme step, who provided the poison and whether anyone took advantage of his troubled mind and provoked him to take the extreme step,” said a senior ministry official.

At RML Hospital, clutching medals and certificates won by Grewal during service, his son Jaswant told The Indian Express that his father had “martyred himself for the cause of OROP”. “We were resting at a park near Jawahar Bhawan in Janpath while returning to our protest site at Jantar Mantar. I saw Grewal suddenly eat something before falling unconscious. Immediately, we called the police and he was rushed to hospital,” retired subedar Prithvi Singh, one of the OROP protesters, told The Indian Express.

Grewal’s suicide came just days after a one-man judicial committee on OROP — Justice L Narasimha Reddy, a retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court — had submitted its report to Parrikar on various issues linked to the implementation of the scheme, which had been a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen.


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  1. H
    Nov 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm
    This is an example of vulture politics by Khujliwal and Pappu
    1. M
      Nov 3, 2016 at 1:32 am
      VP of Congress and tragedywal of aap won't do anything to improve the livelihoods of common people, rather they would indulge in politics of opportunism! OROP was not implemented by Congress in its rule, how come they dare to politicise it? Book those crooks for treason and send them to stan if they have got some kind of immunity with them
      1. S
        Suresh D.R
        Nov 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm
        The suicided ex service men was aware that in case if he dies, many opposition parties like AAP, Congress, JD(U), SP and BSP will visit his house and donate the ample amount to their family the donated amount will be more than his life long OROP pension. It is one of the easy way of making family comfort.
        1. A
          Anjan Kumar
          Nov 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm
          Watch this particular video in which Mr, Rahul hi speaks some lines to the delhi police in charge once and evaluate yourself should democracy side lines it;s protectors?Listen him and evaluate is Mr. Rahi hi's blood same as tigress Indira or the Vibrant Rajiv?Feel him and decide Is Rahul Capable ?lt;br/gt;Understand him and intake is Rahul hi Capable to lead India what way world's largest should progress and prosper?Is Rahul is not what the the Union Govt. and media nexus always project?Do this time Mr. Prime Minister this time really gets scare of Mr. hi?Do Rahul hi's unprecedented appearance inside a police station in the heart of this National Capital made all political parties just a mute spectator? Who does politicize this issue ?CONGRESS?BJP? OR THE BJP ITSELF?Who did create and spread this message that Indian Democracy dose not sympathize it's own ARMY?Who did create this difference between the govt. and Military?lt;br/gt;Our government might have been forgotten no democracy can able to prosper without a unifying bond between the Government and it's Army.
          1. A
            Anusree Kailash
            Nov 2, 2016 at 11:04 pm
            Weird how a suicide is being projected as martyrdom.
            1. R
              Nov 3, 2016 at 5:11 am
              Dubte ko tinke ka sahara, Congress and AAP finding some reason to revive their sinking ships. Incident was unfortunate but Modi also should not have monopoly, in democracy their should be strong opposition. Let the sinking ships float.
              1. J
                Nov 3, 2016 at 5:26 am
                It is a very sad day for India. A 70 year old army veteran had to take this extreme step.This happens only in India. It speaks loudly about the way we take care of our soldiers. Still I feel that Mr. Grewal should have waited for some more time (after all country has waited for 43 years for OROP). OROP has not reached its final conclusion till now. Reviews and rethinks are continuing (I think final draft was submitted to govt on 28 Oct) and I am sure this govt is very serious about granting our soldiers there due. Perhaps he needed a soothing hand in the twilight of his life, which was not available for any;br/gt;What is most shocking was the way both RG and AK turned a very sombre occasion in to a political Tamasha - full fledged political rally with banners and shouts of Zindabad. They tried to storm in to hospital with scant respect for the family of the martyr and other patients in the hospital. But nothing better can be expected from these two worthies. People can see thru this and will teach them a lesson when their time;br/gt;As usual the police also pla their part in this Tamasha - when are they going to learn how to handle this kind of situation? Answer lies in accountability and abandoning of 'chalta hai' culture.
                1. J
                  Nov 4, 2016 at 5:43 am
                  RG must be sent to his quarterly leave to some exotic and amoral location fully paid by the state. It is the only way this nation will be saved from this apology of a politician. If AK accompanies him, nothing like it!
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