The protests by the Pulwama widows intensified on Thursday as they sought justice from the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government by putting grass in their mouths.
The widows urged the Chief Minister to meet them and accept their demands.
They staged a protest in front of Sachin Pilot’s residence on Wednesday and marched towards the Chief Minister’s residence today where they were stopped by the police. The widows had earlier alleged that the police personnel had misbehaved with them.
BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena, who accompanied the protesting widows at the spot, alleged that the widows of the soldiers killed in action were insulted by the state government.
“They have been sitting here for 10 days. They cannot meet the Chief Minister who is sitting in the Bunglow on the taxpayers’ money. They want to meet the Chief Minister. He is not calling them to meet even after repeated requests. They were insulted. We don’t want the movement to be violent which is why they have urged the Chief Minister to meet with green grass in their mouths,” Meena told ANI.
He said that the Rajasthan Ministers had assured that the demands of the widows would be met, however, no step in this regard has been taken so far.
“Even the demon melts after so much pleading. His ministers came and gave assurances to the widows,” he said.
A widow Sundari Gurjar fainted after a scuffle with the police during the march towards the Chief Minister’s residence.
Meena alleged that there was an ambulence stationed at the protest site which was only to “show off” and did not take her to the hospital for nearly half an hour.
“Sundari Gurjar fainted after clashing with police during the march. An ambulance was stationed at the protest site just to show off. But despite half an hour of fainting, the ambulance did not take her to the hospital. The government has left them to die,” he alleged.
Speaking to ANI, a protestor Manju said that they also want action to be taken against those police personnel who allegedly misbehaved with them.
“I urge the Chief Minister to come to us if he does not want to call us for meeting. Why did he go to our home and announce to give jobs? His ministers also said that our demands will be met. We want action against the police personnel who misbehaved with us. We want the approval of our demands in writing,” she said.
Another protestor Madhubala said that they will continue their protest until their demands are met.
“What problem does he have in meeting with us? We are not terrirists who would throw bomb at him. We will leave if he meets us. We will keep sitting here until the demands are met. The job belongs to the wives. It is their wish whosoever they want to give it to. We are not snatching the job of the Chief Minister’s son,” she said.
Sundari Devi, another protesting widow said, “No action has been taken so far. We will be satisfied when we get in writing. Even Sachin Pilot has not done anything for us till now.”
Earlier today, Gehlot said that it is not justified to give job to “any other relative” by snatching the “rights of the children of the martyr” while alleging that the BJP is using them for its “narrow political interest”.
Gehlot asked if it is appropriate to give job to “any other relative” of the killed soldier by “trampling upon the rights of the children of the martyr”.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister shared a note in which he hit out at the BJP while also laying down the work done by his government for the widows of the soldiers.
“…some BJP leaders of the State are using the widows of the martyrs for their narrow political interest and thus dishonouring them…I condemn it. The wife of martyr Sh. Hemraj Meena wants his third statue installed at a circle (Chauraha) whereas two of his statues have already been installed, One in the campus of Govt. College Sangod and another in a park in his native village Vinod Kalan,” he wrote.
He termed the demand inappropriate in view of the families of other soliders who were killed in line of duty.
“Wife of martyr Sh. Rohitash Lamba is demanding compassionate appointment for her husband’s brother (Devar). If job is given to the brother of martyr Sh. Lamba, then in future the family members and relatives of all the widows may exert inappropriate social and family pressure to give job to other relatives while depriving the children of the martyr of their right to job. Should we create such a difficult situation before the widows of the martyrs?” he asked.
Stating that the rule in practice have been formulated on the basis of past experiences, and asked if it is “appropriate to trample upon” the rights of the children of killed soldiers.
“The present rules have been formulated on the basis of past experience. How can we justify giving job to any other relative by trampling upon the rights of the children of the martyr? What will happen to the children of the martyr when they grow up? Is it appropriate to trample upon their rights?” the Chief Minister asked.