Ex-servicemen express sorrow over former soldier’s suicide

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) The ex-servicemen protesting at the Jantar Mantar here over the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) issue on Wednesday expressed sorrow over the suicide by retired Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, but clarified that he was not a part of their agitation.

“The incident is very sad. He belonged to the ex-servicemen fraternity; we are with the family. But suicide is a crime in the Army,” Major General Satbir Singh (retired) said.

The defence force veterans also observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the deceased soldier.

Major General Satbir Singh said: “He was not our representative. He did not come here, nor was he a part of any of our negotiation teams.”

The army veteran also slammed political parties for politicising the issue.

“The issue should not be politicised. Why should they stop (Congress Vice-President) Rahul Gandhi from meeting the family. Did Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs Minister) not meet Hemraj’s family in Mathura,” Singh said while referring to Lance Naik Hemraj, who was beheaded by Pakistani soldiers in 2013.

Swaraj had met the family of the soldier at his village in Uttar Pradesh at that time.

Major General Satbir Singh slammed Manohar Parrikar as the “weakest Defence Minister”.

“I can say that he is the weakest Defence Minister we ever had. He is a good person, but a total failure. He has given us an OROP full of anomalies,” he said.

The United Front of Indian Ex-Servicemen on Tuesday resumed their relay hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar here in support of their demand for the removal of anomalies in the OROP scheme implemented by the Centre.

On Wednesday, 11 former soldiers and the wives of veterans sat on a daylong hunger strike.