New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were detained on Wednesday by Delhi police after the two attempted to meet the family members of Army veteran Ram Kishan Grewal, who allegedly committed suicide over insufficient pension.
70-year-old Grewal, an ex-serviceman from Haryana's Bhiwani district, ended his life on Tuesday by allegedly consuming poison on the lawns behind a government building in Janpath, the central area of the capital.
Rahul was detained twice today. He was also not allowed to meet Grewal's family at the RML Hospital in the national capital. He was stopped by the security personnel deployed at the entrance gate. Gandhi was then briefly detained for 70-minutes in the afternoon. However, in the evening Rahul Gandhi was again detained as he attempted to meet Grewal’s family yet again and was released in an hour.
High drama unfolded on streets in Lutyens' Delhi with Congress and AAP workers staging protests. Gandhi along with other Congress leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia and Ajay Maken were bundled into a police van and taken to the police station.
Minutes after Gandhi’s detention, Kejriwal was also detained as he tried meeting Grewal’s family. Kejriwal tweeted that he has ‘been formally detained’ by Delhi Police.
Hours earlier, Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia and AAP MLA Surinder Singh were also detained at the RML Hospital after Sisodia met Grewal’s family.
Sisodia managed to enter the hospital premises and meet the family members of the deceased, before being detained by police. Eyewitnesses said Sisodia could enter the premises as he came in a civilian car, which went undetected by the security.
BJP accused Rahul and Kejriwal of doing "politics over deaths" and asserted that it had fulfilled its commitment on OROP, while Congress had failed to do so. "The suicide of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal is unfortunate and our sympathies are with his family. What is even more unfortunate is the politics over his death. As far as OROP is concerned, the government has fulfilled its commitment and ex-servicemen are benefiting from it.”
"What Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal are doing is nothing but politics over death. It seems they keep looking for doing politics wherever such deaths occur," BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said in a statement.
Hitting out at the two opposition leaders, he said they "pick and choose deaths" for their politics.
These leaders took no action when their party leaders and governments were in the dock, he said.
"Kejriwal is a leader who has solutions to all problems in the world except for the ones in Delhi. His MLAs have been accused of all sorts of crime from rape to keeping forged certificates but he has done nothing," he said targeting the AAP leader.
Lashing out at the Congress Vice-President, the BJP spokesperson said, "Gandhi is a part-time non-serious politician. His party's government always misled ex-servicemen. He should answer why it did not implement OROP."
"At a time when country is facing threats from terrorists and there is a need to boost morale of armed forces, these leaders are harming them with their politics," he alleged.
Issuing a statement in its defence, the Delhi Police asserted that they were reduced to detaining political leaders as they had to take law and order into consideration.
"During protest by Political parties at RML Hospital today, none has been arrested. When leaders along with the crowd started gathering at RML and Medical services got severely affected and orderliness deteriorated, the police requested them to move away. Despite several requests when they didn't move and refused, the leaders and protesting followers were removed to Police stations and detained. All concerned are requested to help Delhi Police in maintaining peace and orderliness," the statement added.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that he was lying on the 'One rank, One Pension' issue. "The Prime Minister says OROP has been implemented, and soldiers are dying demanding it to be implemented. It means the PM is lying across the country.”
"Then why did he commit suicide? The Centre is deceiving the army. I have come to meet his family. If anyone commits suicide in my state, should I not meet the family?”
"BJP is doing politics. They have detained the Deputy CM. We will have to postpone the Cabinet meeting. Why? Because the Centre has resorted to hooliganism," Kejriwal told reporters outside the hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while celebrating the Diwali with the army and ITBP personnel in Kinnaur, had said that the first instalment of nearly Rs 5,500 crore has been paid for implementing the OROP scheme.
OROP scheme has been a long-standing demand of nearly three-million ex-servicemen and war widows in the country. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel, who retire at the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement....