New Delhi: The Indian government on Thursday refuted charges levelled by social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal who accused it of ignoring the hardships faced by National Security Guard (NSG) commandos who fought during the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008.
Kejriwal alleged that the commandos did not even receive their basic rights from the government.
The social activist even produced a NSG commando named Surender Singh, who fought during the 26/11 Mumbai attack, before the media on Thursday.
Singh, who was injured during the attack and was declared medically unfit to continue the job, said the government did not fulfill the duty towards the injured soldiers.
He said he was deprived of his 'pension money'.
Rubbishing the charges, union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said “The individual (Singh) in question has been paid Rs. 31 lakh by the Maharashtra government and the government of India. I believe that he also received Rs. 25,000, which is in the form of a war injury pension.”
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said, “The Government has taken all care to pay all entitled terminal benefits due to Nk Surender Singh. In case, he still has any grievance, the Ministry of Defence is prepared to look into it.”
The statement also enumerated the compensation served to other NSG commandos killed or wounded in the counter offensive operation.
“Surender Singh has been sanctioned pensionary and terminal benefits viz-a-viz retirement gratuity Rs.2,11,458/-, Commutation of pension Rs.11,35,809/-, Armed Forces PF Rs.6,48,195/-, Army Group Insurance Rs.1,13,849/- and Army Group Disability Cover Rs.10 lakhs, Final settlement of accounts Rs.89,705/- and ex-gratia from welfare fund Rs.10,000/-,” the statement said.
“He is also entitled to an ex-gratia compensation of Rs.9 lakhs for 100% disability which will be processed separately. He has been sanctioned a pension of Rs.25,254/- per month which includes service elements and war injury elements,” it added.
Earlier, Speaking at a press conference, Singh said: "After getting injured during the 26/11 attacks, I was declared medically unfit and sent back home. The problem is that I was deprived of my pension money and also government didn’t bear my medical expenses."
"After failing to get my dues, I even tried to get information through Right to Information Act (RTI). But I was told that NSG will not reply to RTI query as it doesn’t come under the purview of the Act. I wanted to know about foreign donations that were sent to help us. However, my request was not accepted," Singh said.
He said the injured NSG commandos did not receive the 'gifts' in the 'form of cheques'.
"I have seen a file in which the photocopy of two cheques of Rs. 2 lakh each from Rohan Motors Pvt Ltd and another firm were received in my name. I never got the money. But it was not only me, none of my colleagues received the money which came in their name," Singh said.
Kejriwal attacked the government and said: "Kasab was hanged on Wednesday but those NSG commandos who fought these terrorists are still fighting for their rights."
Kejriwal later tweeted on the issue and said: "Govt shamelessly misleading the nation. 31 lakhs given to 11 injured, not to Surinder Singh. Out of 31 lakhs, surinder got jst 2.5 lakh."
"Can govt prove that surinder getting Rs 25 thousand per month? If it is not proved, who wud resign in govt for misleading nation?" he tweeted.
"Govt says that surinder informed of pension on 'phone' on 16 Nov. Interesting. Pensions informed on phone? Since when? No papers needed?" he said.
Speaking on a Rs 2 lakh cheque, Kejriwal said: "What happened to Rs 2 lakh cheque donated by rohan Motors ltd for Surinder Singh? Copy of cheque in govt files. Surinder never recd it."
Meanwhile, the government denied the charges made by Singh and Kejriwal.
Press Information Bureau's Twitter handle said: "Rs 31 lac retirement emoluments paid to Nk Surender Singh. Nk Surender Singh getting war injury pension of Rs 25,254/- per month."
"Nk Surender Singh getting war injury pension of Rs 25,254/- per month," it read.
"The Govt has given Nk Surender Singh all his dues," it said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari denied allegations and told media: "Ministry of Defence will be putting a detailed statement later. As I've been given to understand, Surender Singh has been paid Rs 31 lakhs."
"If at all anything which needs to be done in order to preserve and protect the honour of those people who on daily basis risk their lives for the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the the country, this government will never be found wanting," he said.
Kejriwal raised the issue a day after Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, was hanged on Wednesday morning, only four days before the fourth anniversary of the audacious strike from Pakistan-based terror groups that left 166 people dead and over 300 wounded.