Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday targeted the BJP, saying some of its leaders were disrespecting the widows of martyrs and using them to gain political mileage.
This comes a day after relatives of three CRPF personnel killed in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack reached Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s residence and demanded a meeting with the party high command, accusing the state government of not fulfilling promises made to them.
Without directly naming BJP Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena, who has been sitting on a ‘dharna’ with the widows of the martyrs, Mr Gehlot said in a statement, “Some BJP leaders are disrespecting the wives of the martyrs by using them to gain political mileage. This has never been the tradition of Rajasthan. I condemn it.” The widows’ demands include installing statues of the slain jawans, giving jobs to their relatives on compassionate grounds and construction of roads in their villages.
In his statement, Mr Gehlot said the widow of Hemraj Meena, who was martyred in the attack, wants a third statue to be installed despite two others already put up at the Government College, Sangod, and a park in Vinod Kalan, his native village. “Such a demand is not appropriate keeping in view other martyr families,” the chief minister said in the statement in Hindi.
The wife of Rohitash Lamba is seeking a job for her brother-in-law on compassionate grounds but if the job is given to him, then the family members or relatives of all widows of martyrs might start putting undue pressure on them.
“Should we create such a difficult situation in front of the wives of martyrs because the rules made at present have been made on the basis of past experiences. How can it be justified to deny the rights of the children of martyrs and give jobs to other relatives? What will happen to the children of martyrs when they become adults,” he asked.
Mr Gehlot said during his first tenure as chief minister in 1999, the Rajasthan government released the Kargil package for dependents of martyrs and it has been made more effective by increasing it from time to time.
He said the Rajasthan government has made a provision that if the wife of a soldier is pregnant at the time of his martyrdom and does not want a job, it will be kept reserved for the child so that their future can be secured.
Help has been given to the Pulwama martyrs’ dependents as per the rules of this package, CM Gehlot said.
“Rajasthan is the land of heroes and thousands of soldiers from the state have sacrificed their lives for the motherland. The people and the government here respect the martyrs the most,” CM Gehlot added.
He said he shared his thoughts on the issue with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, a minister in the Mr Gehlot government, met the martyrs’ widows protesting outside Pilot’s residence and said it is the government’s responsibility to respect them.
Mr Pilot had on Monday written to Mr Gehlot, demanding an inquiry into the alleged police misbehaviour with the widows.
He also requested him to sympathetically consider their demands.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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