Will give ‘martyrs’ status to paramilitary personnel, if elected to power: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, 23 February, said that if the Congress party comes to power, it will give martyr’s status to paramilitary forces.

Responding to a question posed by a student with reference to paramilitary soldiers, Gandhi said, “Paramilitary forces don’t get martyr’s status when they lay down their lives…If we form the government, we will give the status of martyrs to those paramilitary soldiers who lay down their lives in the line of duty.”

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Gandhi had earlier raised this issue in the wake of the killing of more than 40 Central Reserve Police force (CRPF) jawans in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

During his interaction with the students, Gandhi also said, ”Casualty is more in the case of paramilitary forces. But they don’t have that much of infrastructure and support to them is not much…They should get the status of martyrs and they will get it.”

The Congress president, said, ”while talking to the families of martyrs, I knew what it felt like to be where they were. My father too was blown to pieces and my grandmother was shot with 32 bullets.”

The issue of granting the status of martyr to paramilitary soldiers has been a talking point in public in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack. A CRPF convoy carrying more than 2,500 jawans was targeted by a suicide bomber on Jammu-Srinagar highway. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The issue was also highlighted by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav after the attack on the CRPF jawans. ”The government, though, addresses the jawans of paramilitary forces (CRPF, BSF, ITBP etc) but does not accord the status of “shaheed” (martyr). We demand that the paramilitary jawans laying down their lives should get the status of martyrs and their families should get all the facilities,” Yadav had said a day after the Pulwama terror attack.

Gandhi spoke on various other issues including job creation, farm distress and social harmony.

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