Political drama over OROP suicide, Rahul and Kejriwal detained
The suicide by an army veteran over OROP on Wednesday snowballed into a huge political show with Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue while there was high drama after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital.
The Congress Vice President was detained twice and was finally released late in the evening as restrictions were put on Kejriwal’s movements before he was briefly detained. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was kept in custody for close to 10 hours.
The leaders were detained when they tried to meet the family of Ram Kishan Grewal, 70, an ex-serviceman who ended his life yesterday by consuming poison on the lawns of a government building at Janpath in the heart of the national capital.
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 One Rank-One Pension(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.
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 who consumed poison on the lawns of a government building in Janpath, and demanded that Modi government apologise to the bereaved family.
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.
“The least this government can do is to apologise to the family of the deceased soldier for making them suffer,” an angry Rahul told reporters after being finally released.
The Congress and AAP leaders called the police action an “assault on democracy and fundamental rights” while calling the treatment meted out to the grieving family as “utterly shameful” and “unprecedented. The BJP on its part accused the Congress and AAP of playing politics over the suicide.
“A martyr’s family is arrested. This is Modi ji’s India,” Rahul told reporters outside RML Hospital from where he was detained.
“How can you arrest the son and father of martyr? And if you have not arrested them, then why are you not letting them go,” he said after his request for releasing Grewal’s family members was turned down.
“A new India is in the making, you have to identify it.
What is happening in India today, you have to identify it. It is a result of their mentality. It is a particular type of mentality. It is an undemocratic type of mentality.”
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. Delhi Police on Wednesday said no political leader was arrested but few of them were detained for affecting “orderliness” while attempting to meet the grieving family of the deceased ex-serviceman who committed suicide to demand implementation of the OROP scheme.