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Published On: Thu, Nov 3rd, 2016

Jawan suicide row: Grewal cremated as Rahul, Kejriwal join mourners

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543538-oroprowNEW DELHI : Rahul Gandhi was among a series of politicians including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress senior Kamal Nath and Derek O’Brien from Bengal who traveled this morning to the Haryana village of Ram Kishen Grewal, a former soldier who committed suicide over an insufficient pension.
Parties deny that they are mining a tragedy for political leverage, claiming they want to honour an army veteran and force the government to deliver an important policy.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
Randeep Singh Surjewala of the Congress helped serve as a pall-beater at today’s cremation. Also present were Krishan Lal Panwar, a minister in the BJP government in Haryana, and Dharambir, who is also from the BJP and represents Bhiwani in parliament.
In a phone conversation with his son, Subedar Grewal on Tuesday said he had consumed poison at a government building in the heart of Delhi. Describing himself as “a man of principles,” he said he was killing himself for “my jawans and my country”.  He died in hospital a few hours later.
The Defence Ministry has said that whether the former serviceman was tacitly encouraged to commit suicide must be investigated.
Yesterday, Mr Gandhi, who is Vice President of the Congress, was detained twice by the police to prevent him from meeting Subedar Grewal’s son, Jaswant Grewal, who alleged he had been beaten up by the police.
The former soldier’s relatives were taken from hospital where his body lay to a police station because they were allegedly creating a racket by protesting against the government.
Subedar Grewal’s suicide has been used by opposition parties to accuse the government of failing to implement the One Rank One Pension scheme or OROP.
The policy is meant to ensure equal pensions for soldiers who served at the same rank and for the same amount of time. Though the government has cleared the scheme, many former servicemen say it is either delayed or incomplete in its execution.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was stopped by the police as well from meeting Subedar Grewal’s relatives. He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “lying” about delivering OROP and said his detention, as well as that of his deputy, Manish Sisodia, proves “we are living in an undeclared Emergency”.
Mr Gandhi, after being released by the cops last night, said the government must apologise to Subedar Grewal’s family for detaining them “on their toughest day”.
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.ndtv.
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