BHIWANI: Amid tight security, ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, whose alleged suicide over 'one rank, one pension' triggered a political storm, was on Thursday cremated in his native village in Haryana in the presence of hundreds of people including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Grewal's eldest son Dilawar lit the pyre at around noon in the presence of a large number of people who had gathered from nearby areas in Bamla, 20km away from Bhiwani.
The 70-year-old ex-serviceman, who was a former sarpanch of his village, committed suicide by consuming poison at a park in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
The incident snowballed into a political row on Wednesday with the Congress vice-president, Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue while there was high drama that continued late into the night after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital in Delhi where Grewal's body was kept.
Tight security arrangements were made on Thursday in view of the events in New Delhi.
Rahul, who travelled by road, spent a few minutes with the grieving family members of Grewal. He had to jostle with the crowd to reach the family members of Grewal as slogans of "Ram Kishan amar rahe" rented the air.
Other Congress leaders including former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Kiran Chaudhary, Selja and Kuldip Bishnoi werea also present.
Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Randeep Singh Surjewala and TMC's Derek O Brien also reached the village.
Kejriwal, who was detained for four hours by Delhi Police on Wednesday night from Lady Hardinge Hospital when he tried to meet the kin of ex-serviceman, was also among those present at the cremation of Grewal.
Kejriwal also announced Rs 1 crore financial assistance to Grewal's family.
"We are giving Rs 1 crore to the family of Ram Kishan (Grewal) whom we consider a martyr," Kejriwal told journalists here after the cremation and in presence of the dead man's son Jaswant.
Kejriwal quickly added that the money being given as compensation — in line with a Delhi government policy — was a small amount and meant to be a gesture for martyrs.
BJP MPs Rattan Lal Kataria and Dharambir Singh and Haryana minister Krishna Lal Panwar were among those who spent some time with the family members of the deceased and later left the venue.
The Haryana government announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Grewal family. It promised a government job to one family member.
Grewal had gone to Delhi with three of his friends from Bhiwani in the intervening night of October 31 and November 1. On Tuesday evening, he allegedly consumed poisonous tablets. One of his friends called the police at 100 and the police personnel immediately took him to RML hospital. Unfortunately, he died after a few hours, police said.
In his last phone conversation with his son Pradeep, Grewal said "injustice" is being done with jawans. "I wanted to fight this (OROP) battle...now it is up to the jawans what they do," he said.
"He should be declared a martyr as he gave his life for the OROP cause," Kulwant said.