Army veteran who committed suicide wanted to make ‘sacrifice’ for other soldiers
New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, the army veteran who committed suicide on Tuesday, wanted to make the supreme sacrifice for the nation and for his fellow soldiers, his suicide note said. He had come to Delhi with three other former soldiers to approach Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the OROP pension for retired soldiers.
Defence Ministry sources said Grewal, who consumed poison on Tuesday, did not have an appointment to meet the Defence Minister.
According to his friend, Jagdish Rai, a 70-year old retired Havildar, Grewal had gone to the Defence Ministry on Tuesday with a memorandum, which he wanted to submit to Parrikar. However, he was not allowed to do so. This made him depressed, after which he allegedly consumed poison.
In his suicide note, written with pencil on the corner of a memorandum that Grewal had prepared to submit to Parrikar, he said he was making the sacrifice for the soldiers and the nation.
“Main mere desh ke liye, meri matrubhumi ke liye, evam mere desh ke veer jawano ke liye apney prano ko nyochhavar kar raha hun (For my country, my motherland, and the brave soldiers of my country, I am sacrificing my life),” the note said.
Rai, who took Grewal to hospital, said that initially a group of four army veterans, including Grewal, had come to Delhi from Bhiwani to submit a memorandum to Parrikar.
Grewal, headman of Bamla village of Bhiwani district, was leading the group.
Rai, resident of Loharu village in Bhiwani, told IANS that Grewal had called a meeting with 30 ex-armymen on Saturday at Nehru Park in Bhiwani to approach Parrikar on implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) recommendations.
Grewal and the other three retired army men left Bhiwani Junction on Tuesday morning and reached Delhi Cantonment Railway station. Grewal had told 30 other veterans, from different districts of Haryana, to meet them at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday afternoon.
“We took a bus to Akbar Road and reached a park in South Avenue. We were waiting for the other associates to protest at Jantar Mantar,” Rai said.
“Grewal told us he was going to hand over the memorandum to the Defence Minister, and left,” he said.
“When he returned after an hour, he was in a depressed mood. He told us to call all the associates at Jantar Mantar to organise a protest on OROP anomalies,” he said.
“We were proceeding towards Jantar Mantar, when Grewal said he was feeling dizzy. He also collapsed twice. We gave him water, but his health kept deteriorating. We were unaware that he had consumed poison.
“We called the police to take him to hospital. But he was declared brought dead on arrival,” Rai said.
The former soldier added that Grewal had become “emotional” after his failed bid to meet Parrikar, but he never gave a hint that he was going to commit suicide. He had apparently consumed the poison near India Gate.
“He was a true fighter, but he was very emotional too. He did not tell us that he was going to commit suicide. His final words to us were, ‘I have approached everywhere for OROP, Sixth and Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, but all was in vain. Now protest is the only way left’,” Rai recalled.
Another associate of Grewal, 60-year-old Maturam, a retired Naik of Indian Army, told IANS that Grewal was a Subedar in the Defence Security Corps (DSC) and also served during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Maturam said Grewal visited him on Friday and asked him to join the protest.
“He also took my signature on the memorandum,” Maturam told IANS.
During his 30 years, 9 months and 26 days service in the army, Grewal was posted in different parts of the country, including Kerala, Mumbai, Arunachal Pradesh, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and also in Bodh Gaya Camp in Bihar, Maturam said.
Havildar Ranbir Singh (retired), who was at the United Front of Indian Ex-Servicemen (Jantar Mantar) protest here on Tuesday, told IANS that he knew Grewal and he always said that “a sacrifice was needed”.
“He used to say that someone will have to make a sacrifice,” Singh told IANS.
(Sanjeev Pal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)