Defence Minister attacks Rahul Gandhi for denying benefits to CAPF martyrs

Defence Minister attacks Rahul Gandhi for denying benefits to CAPF martyrs

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for stating that martyr status should be given to soldiers who lay down their lives in the line of duty and said the Congress government had shelved a proposal in this regard in 2011.

In a Facebook post, the Defence Minister said the Congress president “doesn’t come from a school of thought wherein it is believed that those who sacrifice their lives for the cause of the nation are indeed martyrs in everyone’s eyes, mind, heart, and soul.”

“On 3rd March 2011, under the UPA-II government, a Cabinet note was moved by the MHA for the declaration of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) persons who died on active duty as Shahid/martyr. Subsequently, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office, the PMO, referred the matter to a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) on 14th March 2011,” she said.

“Further on, in the CoS meeting which was held on 14th September 2011, the Committee could not reach a common consensus on giving Shahid/ Martyr status to CAPF personnel who died on active duty. Thereafter, the matter was shelved altogether by the GoI and not taken up further,” the Minister said.

After the Pulwama attack by the terrorists, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi “added a new dimension to the public discourse for personnel of Para-military forces who sacrifice their life in the line of duty by demanding that they should be given the ‘martyr’ status that is given to those belonging to the Indian armed forces.”

Highlighting the work done by the NDA government for the central police forces, Sitharaman said in 2016, the Narendra Modi government increased the ex-gratia lumpsum compensation to the family of deceased CAPF jawans from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 35 lakh in case of death occurring in border skirmishes and action against militants. Further, in cases of death attributed to acts of violence, the compensation was further increased to Rs 25 lakh. This was in addition to their all other allowances.

The Defence Minister said the 88,000 CRPF personnel who are deployed in the Left Wing extremist area and Jammu and Kashmir had their ‘risk and hardship’ allowance increased by 78 per cent in the case of other ranks and 48 per cent in the case of officers. Recently, the Government also gave them air travel facility while travelling from Jammu and Srinagar.

“The Congress president was expected to be in the aware and informed of these facts and information. The UPA Government denied these benefits to the martyrs for years and it was under the Modi-led NDA Government which ultimately conferred these benefits,” she said.