Ex-Serviceman's Family, Rahul Gandhi, Sisodia Detained After OROP Suicide Case

Ram Kishan Grewal's letter to defence minister Manohar Parrikar alleged that he was still not receiving the pension owed to him under the OROP scheme.

New Delhi: In a response that the opposition has described as heavy-handed, the police detained Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other leaders after an 70-year-old ex-serviceman allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday evening over the government’s failure to implement the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.

Rahul Gandhi, Sisodia and others were not allowed to enter Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in the capital where the ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, was taken. “I was not allowed to visit Grewal’s kin because of the government’s non-democratic mentality,” Rahul Gandhi told CNN-News18. Rahul, Sisodia and other AAP leaders were then detained for ‘disruption of duty’ by the police, with special commissioner M.K. Meena telling ANI that RML was “a hospital and not a place for demonstration”. Meena told ANI that Grewal’s family had also been detained, for contacting political leaders and holding a demonstration.

Grewal’s family members have alleged that the police used force against them, reports said.

Rahul Gandhi was later released from detention.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre over Grewal’s suicide, as well as the detentions.

On his part, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said he had nothing to say on the matter and the police was handling it.

The police said Grewal and other ex-servicemen were in the process of submitting a memorandum to the defence ministry over the issue of implementing the OROP.

Grewal left a suicide note saying that he was taking the extreme step for the benefit of soldiers, sources told CNN-News18.

Grewal had also written a letter to defence minister Manohar Parrikar at the end of October, CNN-News18 reported, asking the minister to “pay heed” to the demands of the ex-servicemen.

Parrikar has said he is “saddened” to hear about Grewal’s death.

Ex-servicemen have been protesting over the implementation of the OROP scheme introduced by the government. According to the scheme, those of the same rank will have the same pension, irrespective of their date of retirement.

On Diwali this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told jawans that he had fulfilled his dream of implementing the OROP scheme, CNN-News18 reported. “In my first public address in Rewari I was amongst the retired army men and that time I had said that since a long time OROP is due and I requested army that I have to fulfill my promise so please accept the dues in 4 instalments and in those 4 instalments everyone will get their money at home, first instalment has reached,” he had said.

However, Grewal’s letter to Parrikar alleged that he was still not receiving the pension owed to him under the OROP scheme.

(with PTI inputs)