Deathly politics

  • Editorial | New Delhi

    March 17, 2017 | 01:39 AM
Representational Image

Representational Image (PHOTO: TWITTER)

The thunder and fury of the elections could so easily “black out” the implications of a recent development. One particular family may feel “deprived”, yet there is reason to commend the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi for thwarting a bid to bake a political cake on the funeral pyre of a dejected army veteran. Saner elements in the ex-servicemen’s community ~ alas now getting increasingly entangled in despicable politics ~ would do well to try and explain to old soldiers the merits of Mr Anil Baijal’s decision not to approve chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “announcement “ of one crore rupees as compensation to a veteran who committed suicide at Jantar Mantar last year in protest against the implementation of the OROP regime. Without intending disrespect of any kind to the memory of Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal of Haryana, it was shameful and disturbing to note the manner in which Opposition parties had exploited his suicide to flay the NDA government for its OROP botch-up. True that the Delhi Police, under the previous Lieutenant Governor, had displayed crass insensitivity to make bad things even worse, but the unseemly drama at a city hospital and the “procession” to his village for the funeral marked a new low in political cross-fire ~ almost as “sick” as the manner in which the Modi government has been exploiting tactical strikes across the LOC in a jingoistic display of “muscle”, and claiming Pakistan was paying for backing terrorist action in Kashmir. Unfortunately, only in our netas’ lexicon do two “wrongs” add up to one “right”.

That distasteful politics continues is confirmed by Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet alleging that “Narendra Modi is anti-soldier”, and his minions regurgitating the charge. They have promised Grewal’s family “other ways” of making the money available. Significantly, there has been no attack on Raj Niwas ~ possibly because Kejriwal & Co are wary of re-stoking the fire that dissipated after Najeeb Jung quit as LG, and their party has failed to live up to its pre-poll ragging.  The order of the present LG was sympathetic towards Grewal’s family, but categorical: “This specific case does not fall within the parameters of the scheme for grant of ex-gratia payment: that is death occurring in the discharge of official duty.” The order also pointed out that Grewal had no Delhi connections. A query that must be asked is if the generous compensation to Grewal was not unfair to families of other, genuine, military martyrs? And if Kejriwal was sincere about the problems of defence pensioners he could set an example to other states by making additional money available to Delhi-based veterans, or re-energise the local ex-servicemen’s welfare agency. Thus his “generosity” in the Grewal affair was dubiously motivated.