Just a day after Kasab’s hanging, a war of words ensued on Thursday between the government and anti-graft leader Arvind Kejriwal over the alleged neglect of the NSG commandos who rescued several citizens from the terrorists on November 26, 2008.
Kejriwal and Surendra Singh, one of the injured commandos of 26/11 attacks, alleged denial of pension, medical and other benefits to commandos, prompting the Defence Ministry to release details of the compensation package to Singh.
At a press conference, Kejriwal and Singh alleged the bravery and sacrifice of 26/11 commandos have been ignored and they had been treated poorly whenever they approach the government.
Surendra, a resident of Jhajhar in Haryana had been from the Grenadiers unit of the Army and was on three years deputation to NSG when he participated in the battle against Mumbai terror attack.
He was part of the team which vacated Hotel Taj from terrorists and was seriously injured. After treatment in Army base hospital, he was declared unfit to serve the Army and was retired.
Surendra claimed that he received only around Rs four lakh including Rs one lakh each from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda. He said he has already spent Rs one lakh on his medical treatment.
He alleged that money received by way of gifts and donations were not distributed properly among the 26/11 heroes and discriminations were made in selecting names for national honours.
Singh alleged that he was denied information through RTI on denial of benefits.
Following the claims, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) tweeted that Surendra Singh was given Rs 31 Lakh as “retirements emoluments” and has been sanctioned over Rs 25,000 as “war injury pension”. The PIB said Singh has been telephonically communicated about the pension on November 16.
Minister of state Manish Tiwari backed up the statement.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, under whose ministry NSG comes in, also responded that he will enquire into the matter.
But, in his tweet, Kejriwal rejected government’s claim and said that out of Rs 31 lakh Surendra only received Rs 2.5 lakh.
“Can govt prove that Surinder getting Rs 25 thousand per month? If it is not proved, who would resign in govt for misleading nation?" he asked.
In its release, however, the Defence Ministry provided details of Rs 31 lakhs given to Singh and also said that he is entitled to an additional ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 Lakhs for 100 percent disability.
The ministry has said that a monthly pension of over Rs 25,000 has been sanctioned and his Ex Servicemen Health Scheme Card has also been dispatched on his home address.
The ministry denied any discrimination in honouring commandos and also said that except for donations for the families of deceased, all individual donations goes to the NSG Central Welfare Fund.