Punjab Cong. announces protests today

Updated - December 02, 2016 01:22 pm IST

Published - November 04, 2016 12:00 am IST - Chandigarh:

Congress activists taking out a protest march in Chandigarh on Thursday, condemning the alleged manhandling of their party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi by the Delhi police.- Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Congress activists taking out a protest march in Chandigarh on Thursday, condemning the alleged manhandling of their party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi by the Delhi police.- Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced State-wide protests in all the districts on Friday over ex-serviceman Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal’s suicide and the “shabby and inhumane” treatment meted out to the deceased jawan’s family members.

Lashing out at the Narendra Modi-led central government in general and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in particular, he said both were responsible for Subedar Grewal’s suicide.

“Party workers have been directed to stage dharnas in all the districts of Punjab, while I will personally lead a delegation of State Congress leaders to submit a memorandum to the Governor regarding the misbehaviour of the police with the ex-serviceman’s family,” Capt. Amarinder said at a press meet here.

He unequivocally condemned the “high-handedness” of the Delhi police regarding the treatment it meted out to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as well as the family of Subedar (Retd) Grewal, who committed suicide by consuming poison at a park in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.

Grewal, in his suicide note, has reportedly blamed the “prolonged delay” over the ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) settlement for his decision behind the extreme step.

Capt. Amarinder alleged that despite having “repeatedly promised” OROP for ex-servicemen during his 2014 election campaign, Mr. Modi “went back on his word” after becoming the Prime Minister.

The Punjab Congress chief also alleged that the suicide of Subedar Grewal reflected the “complete apathy” of the NDA government towards the plight of the soldiers.

“It has led to total demoralisation of the forces which are feeling gravely let down after the incident,” he said.

“On the one hand, you are trying to glorify the achievements of our defence forces and even trying to make political capital out of these, and on the other, you are demoralising them by not giving OROP and even downgrading their status in comparison to their civilian counterparts,” Capt. Amarinder said, warning Mr. Modi that this could have “dangerous and disastrous” repercussions for the country. Amarinder said no country could afford a demoralised defence force.

He reiterated his demand for the ouster of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for his “insensitivity” towards the problems of ex-servicemen.

Alleging that the Defence Minister had “no idea” how the armed forces functioned, the Punjab Congress chief demanded his immediate replacement.

“As a soldier myself, I cannot allow the dignity of the Army personnel to be compromised in any manner,” he said, adding that the Mr. Modi government seemed “hell bent on demoralising the country’s defence personnel“.

Capt. Amarinder also lashed out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who had reportedly dismissed the plea of ex-servicemen on the contentious OROP issue, which the BJP had promised to resolve in its election manifesto.

Regarding the issues of Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations, the former Punjab Chief Minister reiterated that “dialogue and negotiations” with Pakistan were the only solutions and cautioned against the continued escalation of tension along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

He alleged that the NDA government was “deliberately trying to create tension along the border in order to polarise the people with an eye on the (2017) Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections”.

“First they (NDA) politicised the surgical strikes and now, they are trying to build up tension along the border,” said Capt. Amarinder.

He expressed concern over the “continuous process” of expulsion and withdrawal of diplomats by India and Pakistan.

Capt. Amarinder said dialogue was the only option between the two countries and called for an immediate end to the continuous firing along the border by both sides.

Taking a jibe at the NDA government for “politicising” the Army’s surgical strikes, he said there was “nothing new” about these as such operations were carried out by the army on earlier occasions as well. - PTI

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.