In the heated moments following alleged suicide of ex-serviceman Ram Krishan Grewal over ‘one rank-one pension’, he was cremated in his native village Bamla, 20 kms away from Bhiwani, Haryana, amid the presence of hundreds of people including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
At around noon, Grewal’s eldest son Dilawar lit the pyre of his 70-year-old father who was also the sarpanch of the village.
Subedar Grewal accompanied by his three friends from Bhiwani reached New Delhi on Thursday evening to protest for OROP. On Tuesday, he allegedly consumed poisonous tablets and succumbed to death in a few hours in RML hospital.
Since the suicide, opposition parties have made it a point as an accusation on Modi government in failing to implement the OROP, an issue which remained pending for about 40 years during the Congress regime.
This converted soon into a political row when Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kjriwal and his aides were detained and prevented them from entering a hospital in Delhi where Grewal’s body was kept, as they tried to meet the kin of Grewal. Tight security arrangements were made on Thursday in view of the events in New Delhi.
As he attended the cremation, Gandhi travelled by road and 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.
Amongst other Congress leaders former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Kiran Chaudhary, Kamal Nath, Randeep Singh Surjewala Selja and Kuldip Bishnoi were also present. TMC’s Derek O Brien also reached the village.
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. Delhi’s CM Kejriwal also attended the cremation, where he 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 after the cremation and in presence of Grewal’s son Jaswant.
He was quick to add 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.
The Haryana government announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Grewal family. It promised a government job to one family member.
It has been reported that Grewal’s son Kulwant said the politics over his father’s death should end. “I don’t understand why they are playing politics over our father’s death. He was deeply committed to all causes which he was associated with. He should be declared a martyr as he gave his life for the OROP cause.”
Grewal is survived by his widow, five sons and two daughters. He retired in 2004 after attaining Subedar rank. He became Sarpanch of the village in 2006. One of his sons is Havildar in Army and the eldest son is in Haryana police.