In the afternoon and then again in the evening opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was detained by the Delhi police as he tried to meet with the family of the army veteran who committed suicide allegedly over an insufficient pension.
Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia & other Cong leaders inside Tilak Marg police station, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/CAnORb38CQ
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 2, 2016
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted this evening that he had also been “formally detained” as he was driving to the police station where the former serviceman’s relatives had been kept, allegedly for hours.
The death of Mr. Grewal, 65, who drank poison at a government building on Tuesday has corralled opposition leaders into attacking the government for failing to implement the One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) scheme.
Currently, military personnel who retire get paid more than former servicemen who served at the same rank and for the same amount of time. The OROP program is meant to equalize pension payments. The government approved the new policy last year, but it has yet to be correctly implemented, say army officers, who are opposed to OROP plans to reconcile the rate of payments to current and past pensioners every five years; they say the review must happen more frequently.
Mr. Gandhi was taken away by the Delhi police first when he tried to visit the hospital where Mr. Grewal’s relatives were with his body. After they were moved to a different hospital, Mr. Gandhi repeated his endeavor in the evening with the same effect. In a bus, escorted by top leaders from his party, he pulled into a central Delhi police station in a scrum of cameras.
During his first forced stay at a police station, he was filmed on a cellphone rebuking the police for also detaining Mr. Grewal’s son, who had protested outside the hospital where his father’s body lay, along with members of the Aam Admi Party. “Have you no shame,” Mr. Gandhi said to the cops, asking them how they could justify action against the son of an army veteran fighting for his rights.
In the evening, he shared a video of the veteran’s son claiming he was beaten up by the police.
The Delhi Police tweeted that it was forced to act when leaders ignored orders to move away from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital.
“Medical services got severely affected and orderliness deteriorated,” the police claimed, adding that patients’ safety was at risk.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this evening that he was being prevented from meeting the family of the army veteran. “Am I armed with a gun? How can I be stopped from visiting the family,” Mr. Kejriwal asked.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that “the police will do what it has to”.
Mr Grewal’s son, Jaswant Bamla, told NDTV that General (retd) VK Singh, former army chief and union minister, “has insulted my father” by stating that the reason for Mr. Grewal’s suicide was not clear and that “his mental state” at the time of his suicide should be examined. A voice message from his father talks of injustices to soldiers and says “this is my sacrifice for jawans and my country.”