A day after he raised questions about the “mental state” of Ram Kishan Grewal, an army veteran whose suicide, allegedly over OROP, has sparked a political row, Union Minister V K Singh today said the deceased soldier was a Congress worker.
He also rejected reports about Grewal being a prominent face of the ‘One Rank-One Pension’ agitation, saying ex- servicemen protesting at Jantar Mantar for its implementation had yesterday said they had seen the former armyman at the protest venue for the first time before he committed suicide.
“He (Grewal) was a Congress worker. He became sarpanch on Congress’ ticket. However, he was our soldier. I feel sad over his death,” the Minister of State for External Affairs said.
The Minister had landed himself in controversy yesterday when he said the “mental state” of Grewal needed to be probed before drawing conclusions about his extreme action.
“He has committed suicide. No one knows the reason behind it. OROP is being shown as the reason. What his mental state was we do not know. Let it be probed first. OROP should be kept above politics,” Singh told reporters, while reacting to the incident which led to high-voltage protests in the national capital yesterday.
He went on to state that the Centre had accepted the long-pending demands of the agitating veterans and there was no need to get into what one was saying for “4 paisa.
As if this wasn’t enough, Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar refused to call Grewal a martyr. In a disparaging tone, the controversial chief minister told ANI, “Shaheed’ are those who lay down their lives at the border, not who commit suicide.”
The insults meted out by two high-ranking BJP ministers for a martyred soldier have come in sharp contrast to the party’s eagerness to project itself as the biggest champion of soldiers’ cause.
The party had wasted no time in making desperate efforts to extract electoral mileage of surgical strikes carried out by the Indian army across the LoC in September.