Funeral of a martyred soldier in normal circumstances is marked by pyre-side military honors, tradition and volley of gunshots. All of this was missing on Thursday from the final journey of Army veteran Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide in Delhi over anomalies in the implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.
CHANDIGARH: Funeral of a martyred soldier in normal circumstances is marked by pyre-side military honors, tradition and volley of gunshots. All of this was missing on Thursday from the final journey of Army veteran Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide in Delhi over anomalies in the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
Instead, his tragic act triggered a political debate over whether he should be called a "martyr" and the cremation ground at his village in Bhiwani district on Thursday witnessed a swarm of politicians rather than Army veterans.
Prominent among those who were making a beeline at the funeral at Bamla village included Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi, Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Surjewala, Ashok Tanwar, Kiran Chaudhary, Shruti Chaudhary and Kumari Selja, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien, Kuldeep Bishnoi and several MPs and MLAs from the state.
In contrast, very few Ar my veterans, including Maj Gen Satbir Singh who is heading the OROP protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, had attended the cremation. Presence of such a large number of political lead ers caused total chaos at the ground and several villagers were not allowed to pay their tribute to the Subedar, who was also the sarpanch of his village for several years.
The venue was packed with security personnel from central forces, special commandoes and local cops as several VVIPs visited the village.Several supporters and workers of political parties were also seen taking selfies with their leaders.
Rahul, who spent more than two hours at the cremation ground, distanced himself from making any statement on politicizing the issue.
However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Rahul would keep on taking up the issue if Narendra Modi government continues to suppress the legitimate rights of Army veterans.
Derek O'Brien justified his visit saying that he came here on instructions from party chief Mamata Banerjee and not to play politics. About the chaos during the cremation, Brien said family members and villagers should have been allowed to perform the rituals in a dignified manner. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda justified the presence of politicians at the funeral, saying, "it is not politics, it is our responsibility ."
Kejriwal said, "Yes we are doing politics to grant our soldiers their rights while Modiji is doing politics to take those rights away". He said his government would declare Grewal as a `martyr' and announced Rs 1 crore financial assistance to the family.
Both Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi shared their phone numbers with the family members of Ram Kishan asking them to contact them for any kind of assistance in future.