This Article is From Nov 03, 2016

VVIP Parade At Ex Soldier's Cremation: 10-Point Guide To The Controversy

Rahul Gandhi is in Bhiwani to attend funeral of army veteran who killed himself over OROP pension.

Highlights

  • Former soldier committed suicide on Tuesday by drinking poison
  • Death linked to demand for equalizing pension of former servicemen
  • Rahul Gandhi was detained twice by cops for trying to meet family
New Delhi: The cremation in Haryana of a former soldier who killed himself over an insufficient pension turned into a parade of VVIPs today. Rahul Gandhi attended; so did Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who stood at a distance from him.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. Randeep Singh Surjewala of the Congress served at the cremation in Bhiwani of Ram Kishen Grewal, who killed himself on Tuesday. Also present were Krishan Lal Panwar, a minister in the BJP government in Haryana, and Dharambir, who is also from the BJP and represents Bihwani in parliament.

  2. Subedar Grewal's death has been converted, much to the anger of other former soldiers, into a political battleground with opposition leaders like Mr Gandhi and Mr Kejriwal leading the charge against the government for failing to deliver on a new policy, OROP or One Rank One Pension.

  3. Subedar Grewal was upset about not being paid an additional Rs 3,000 that he was owed every month according to the OROP scheme, which seeks to equalize pension payments between soldiers who served at the same rank and for the same amount of time, regardless of the year in which they retire.

  4. General (retd) VK Singh, who was the army chief and is now a union minister, has today said Mr Grewal's suicide does not appear linked to OROP. While expressing his concern about the death, he said it's important to determine why the Subedar's son "listened patiently" to the former serviceman as he declared on the phone that he had consumed poison.

  5. The phone conversation was recorded and released to the media yesterday by the Subedar's family, who have alleged that they were beaten up by the cops yesterday and detained for several hours.

  6. General Singh also said that the Subedar ran successfully for sarpanch or village council head as a Congress candidate, implying that the opposition's support to his family is not apolitical.

  7. The former soldier's son, Jaswant Grewal, denied this and asked "Why are they indulging in politics over a martyr?"

  8. Yesterday, Mr Gandhi, who is Vice President of the Congress, was detained twice to prevent him from meeting the subedar's grieving relatives. The Delhi Chief Minister was also prevented from visiting them by the police, a move he declared unlawful.

  9. Today, Mr Kejriwal announced a compensation of a crore for Mr Grewal's family.

  10. The Defence Ministry says that the pension owed to the former soldier had been sanctioned, but the bank handling the payment caused delays in releasing the entire amount.