The widows of the three CRPF jawans from Rajasthan, who were killed in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, on Thursday demanded a written assurance from the Ashok Gehlot government that their demands, including jobs to their relatives on compassionate grounds, will be met to end their protest.
The widows have been protesting since February 28 and launched an indefinite hunger strike five days ago. They have been camping outside former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's residence since Monday. A medical team on Thursday checked their vitals.
The widows demand a change in rules so that their relatives and not just children can get government jobs on compassionate grounds.
Reacting to the demand, Gehlot asked on Twitter if it would be "appropriate" to give jobs to other relatives of the martyred jawans instead of their children.
"How can we justify giving the 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?" he asked.
He also shared a screenshot of a statement in which he said one of the widows is demanding a job for her husband's brother (devar). He said if the job is given to the brother of the killed CRPF jawan then the family members and relatives of all the widows "may exert inappropriate" pressure to give the job to other relatives while depriving the children of the martyr of their right to a job.
Gehlot also accused state BJP leaders of "using the widows of the martyrs for their narrow political interests and thus dishonouring them".
"BJP leaders had misbriefed Defence Minister Sh. Rajnath Singh. I have shared the facts with Defence Minister Sh. Rajnath Singh ji and Congress president Sh. Mallikarjun Kharge ji," he said in another tweet.
The widows also demand the construction of roads and installation of statues of the martyrs in their villages. On Thursday, they sought a written assurance from the state government that their demands will be met.
"We want a written assurance from the government. The chief minister should meet us so that we can raise our issues before him. Also, action should be taken against policemen who manhandled us," one of the widows told reporters.
The National Commission for Women took cognizance of the issue and asked the state DGP to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of "mistreatment and assault" by the widows against police officials.
"NCWIndia has taken cognizance. Chairperson @sharmarekha has written to DGP Rajasthan to personally look into the matter and conduct an inquiry into allegations of mistreatment and assault levelled by the women against police officials. Detailed ATR must be apprised to NCW," the commission tweeted.
BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Kirori Lal Meena, who is protesting along with the widows near Pilot's residence, said he will continue to fight with them and not return empty hand.
"We will die, we will get ruined. But we will not return empty hand. The chief minister should meet them," Meena told reporters.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore said, "The governor is the constitutional head and he has written a letter to the CM. If he doesn't take it seriously then there is nothing more unfortunate than this. This reflects CM's stubbornness."
On Wednesday, a four-member delegation of BJP leaders met the governor, seeking his intervention in the matter. They also submitted a memorandum to him.
The governor then wrote to CM Gehlot, asking him to resolve the matter after considering the rules.
On Tuesday, two Rajasthan ministers – Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Shakuntala Rawat - met the widows and listened to their demands.
Later that day, Gehlot said in a tweet, "Some BJP leaders are disrespecting the martyrs and taking political mileage. This has never been the tradition in Rajasthan. I condemn it."
The widows of the CRPF jawans are also demanding a meeting with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi.