After questioning the mental health of a retired soldier who committed suicide demanding One Rank, One Pension (OROP) implementation, Union minister VK Singh on Thursday called him a Congress worker. “He was a Congress worker and who fought Sarpanch election on Congress ticket. His suicide is unfortunate, VK Singh told reporters while reacting to alleged suicide by Ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal. He added, “If he had reached out to us and didn’t get help, then it was our fault.” He questioned as to who provided the Army veteran with Sulpha tablets. He said, “His issue was with the bank and not with #OROP. Also, how did he procure Sulpha tablets and who gave it to him?” Meanwhile, Congress’ Raj Babbar said, “His mental condition needs to be examined, shameful that such a person writes ‘General’ before his name.” Congress MLA Randeep S Surjewala tweeted, “Gen VKSingh’s continuous character assassination of a soldier is disgusting..BJP encashs Army’s bravery but fails to do justice to veterans.”
Earlier VK Singh had questioned the mental health of the ex-serviceman by saying, “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 also said, “Most aspects of the OROP have been covered and that if someone complains over a few pennies and the delay of a few years, he should not be indulged.”
Singh’s statement drew sharp criticism from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress party. Kejriwal tweeted, “Shame on u VKSingh. He twice got medals from President and once from COAS. He was a decorated soldier.” OROP is a longstanding demand of ex-servicemen, which grants retired armed forces personnel pension parity with officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now. Ram Kishan Grewal had participated in protests over OROP and his fellow protesters had asked leaders not to politicise the issue.
(with inputs from agencies)