A 65-year-old retired Armyman from Haryana allegedly killed himself in the capital on Tuesday. He had planned to hand a petition to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar later in the day on the government’s One Rank One Pension or OROP scheme.
Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal allegedly had poison on the lawns behind Jawahar Bhawan, a government building in the heart of Delhi that houses the Ministry of External Affairs, on Tuesday afternoon. He was rushed to a hospital nearby but had died.
The retired subedar from Bhiwani in Haryana had served in the Indian Army for over 30 years. In his petition to Mr Parrikar, Subedar Grewal complained that he had still not received the increased pension promised to him by the government under the OROP scheme it implemented last year.
Sources in Mr Parrikar’s office said they had received no request from the Army veteran for an appointment with the minister.
The police said the ex-serviceman was in Delhi with three other people, who said they had no idea that he was contemplating suicide.
Subedar Grewal’s family said he called up his youngest son after consuming sulphide tablets. “He called us and said he is committing suicide as the government has failed to fulfil their demands related to OROP,” Subedar Grewal’s son, Ram Kishan Grewal told news agency ANI.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the centre over the incident. “Both farmers and soldiers are committing suicide in Modi Raj. That means the Prime Minister is lying that OROP has been implemented. Why would Ram Kishan ji have committed suicide if OROP was being implemented?” Mr Kejriwal said.
The ex-serviceman had joined protests at Jantar Mantar, Delhi’s designated site for protests, to demand changes in OROP. Protesters say four of their primary conditions have not been met by the government.
One Rank One Pension, a longstanding demand of ex-servicemen, grants retired armed forces personnel pension parity with officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now.