In a political ‘master-stroke’ by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the ‘jobs for relatives’ controversy raging in Rajasthan, he refused to meet widows of the Pulwama soldiers who have been protesting, asking for jobs for their relatives. The Chief Minister, who had tweeted asking if it wouldn’t be better if the jobs were saved for their children, met other widows and discussed the issue with them. They have said they would rather have the jobs saved for the children. A day after the Rajasthan police detained BJP leader Kirodi Lal Meena, party workers held another protest in Jaipur today. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot accused Mr Meena of using widows for political gains. Mr Meena, in turn, has accused the police of “trying to kill him”.
The protests turned violent today as the protesters were marching towards Mr Gehlot’s residence.
#WATCH | Huge protest rally held by BJP workers in Rajasthan’s Jaipur over the matter of protest by widows of the jawans who lost their lives in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack. pic.twitter.com/myYrYM4jA7
— ANI (@ANI) March 11, 2023
While the protesters threw stones and broke police barricades, the police resorted to lathicharge.
The protests, which have been on for nearly two weeks, are led by widows of soldiers killed in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack demanding jobs for families, and other issues. On Friday morning, the police removed the widows who had been protesting outside Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot’s house in Jaipur and shifted them to hospitals near their respective residential areas.
Mr Gehlot today met some widows of soldiers who were killed in action in earlier operations. They told him that government jobs should be given to their children only. The widows of soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack did not meet Mr Gehlot.
The BJP slammed the state government, calling the action “an insult to the widows” and accused it of not fulfilling the promises made to the families.
Reacting to the police action, Mr Pilot told reporters in Tonk that the issues of the widows should be heard with sensitivity.
“Even today I believe that we can fulfil demands like laying roads, erecting houses, and installing statues. A message should not go out that we are not ready to listen to the demands of the widows of the martyrs. It is another thing whether we agree to their issues or not but one should put aside his ego while listening to their demands,” the Congress leader said.
The widows have been protesting since February 28, demanding a change in rules so that their relatives and not just children can get government jobs on compassionate grounds. Their other demands include construction of roads and installation of statues of the martyrs in their villages.