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Veteran's Suicide Over OROP Sets Capital Afire as CM Kejriwal, Deputy CM Sisodia and Rahul Gandhi Face Off Against Centre

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The suicide of an army veteran reportedly over the delay in implementation of one-rank, one-pension (OROP) scheme set Delhi’s political circles afire on Wednesday, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi facing off with the Delhi Police, which prevented the leaders from meeting the deceased ex-servicemen’s kin.

New Delhi: The suicide of an army veteran reportedly over the delay in implementation of one-rank, one-pension (OROP) scheme set Delhi’s political circles afire on Wednesday, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi facing off with the Delhi Police, which prevented the leaders from meeting the deceased ex-servicemen’s kin.

ALSO READ: I'm Near India Gate... Have Consumed Poison: Veteran's Last Call to Son

The leaders were detained when they tried to meet the family of Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, 70, an ex-serviceman who ended his life on Tuesday evening by consuming poison on the lawns of a government building at Janpath in the heart of the national capital.

ALSO READ: 'Veteran Was OROP Recipient But Got Less Money Due to Bank Error'

The three leaders were taken to different police stations after detention. While Rahul Gandhi was released in the evening after being detained twice in four hours, Manish Sisodia was released after a nine-hour detention late on Wednesday. CM Arvind Kejriwal was the last to be released after a six-hour detention.

In a scathing attack on the Modi government, Rahul said the Delhi Police's action was symbolic of "undemocratic" mentality of the NDA dispensation, while Kejriwal called the situation worse than emergency and accused the Prime Minister of being guilty of "deceit" and indulging in "lies" over the OROP issue.


Twelve family members of the deceased, including his son Jaswant, were detained and some of them alleged that they were thrashed and abused by police when they came out of RML hospital to meet Rahul. Grewal's body was kept at RML.

ALSO READ: All You Need to Know About Contentious Issues Between Government and Ex-Servicemen

The Congress and AAP leaders also accused the Modi government of being responsible for the death of Grewal, a resident of Haryana's Bhiwani district, and demanded that Modi government apologise to the bereaved family. "A martyr's family is arrested. This is Modi ji's India," Rahul told reporters outside RML Hospital from where he was detained.



Rahul was detained twice and released. The Congress leader was first taken to the Mandir Marg Police Station where the dead soldier's son Jaswant, too, was detained with some grieving family members.

"You have no shame? He is a son of an army veteran... you are arresting them," a livid Gandhi told a police officer.

Listen: Ram Kishan Grewal's last phone call



Gandhi blamed Modi for the situation. "This is an undemocratic mentality. A new kind of India is being created. It is Modiji's India."

ALSO READ: Aren't You Ashamed: Rahul Hits Out at Cops for Detaining Veteran's Kin

The Congress alleged that the Delhi Police unleashed "naked hooliganism" on the opposition leaders. Several Congress leaders, including Randeep Surjewala, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kumari Selja were detained while police was seen dragging scores of AAP workers and many office bearers outside the Parliament Street Police station.

Kejriwal, who was detained outside Lady Hardinge hospital in central Delhi where Grewal's body was taken for post mortem, called the situation "worse than Emergency". A number of AAP leaders, including Delhi Minister Gopal Rai, were also detained.

ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi Detained Twice in 4 Hours, Says Modi Govt to Blame for Veteran's Suicide

"The Prime Minister is lying to the entire country claiming that OROP has been implemented. If it was implemented then why Ram Kishan had to commit suicide? The extent of the deceit of the BJP government over the issue is unprecedented," said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal's detention triggered an angry reaction from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as well as his supporters in the capital. She called it "unacceptable".



The BJP on its part accused the Congress and AAP of playing politics over the suicide.



Grewal, who Defence Ministry sources said was receiving OROP but a lesser amount due to an error in calculating the pension by the bank, left behind a suicide note, according to his son.

Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP. However, Defence Ministry sources said as per records, no request for appointment with Parrikar was made.



Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he was saddened by the death of Grewal. "Saddened by the death of subedar Ram Kishen Grewal. I express my heartfelt condolences. I have asked officials to provide me with details," Parrikar said in a tweet.



Amid the protests by opposition parties, Union Minister VK Singh triggered a controversy when he said the "mental state" of Grewal needs to be probed before drawing conclusions about his extreme action.

ALSO READ: VK Singh Sparks Row With Remarks Over Deceased Veteran's Mental State


According to his friends, Grewal, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the issue for some time.

A group of ex-servicemen led by Major General Satbir Singh (Retd) has been protesting against the OROP scheme introduced by the government. He is now an adviser to a new political party, Fauji Janta Party, which will fight the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls.

The alleged suicide came just days after a one-man judicial committee on OROP submitted its report to Parrikar.



The Centre, which has implemented the OROP, a demand pending for decades, had appointed the committee under the retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court L Narasimha Reddy to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.

The Ministry is currently studying the report and sources had said it will take a decision soon.

(With PTI inputs)