‘Will give the status of martyrs to slain soldiers’: Rahul Gandhi’s promise if Congress comes back to power

New Delhi: Speaking at a talk session with university students on February, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that if the Congress party comes to power, it will accord the status of ‘martyr’ to those paramilitary jawans, who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Gandhi assured this while interacting with university students at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. He asserted that he is very close to the paramilitary personnel as the officials in his security belong to paramilitary.

“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,” Gandhi said, while responding to a question posed by one of the PhD students.

He added,”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.”

Notably, the demand to grant the tag of martyr to paramilitary soldiers has been raised in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead. A two-minute silence was also observed in honour of the CRPF jawans martyred in the deadly incident on February 14.

Apart from responding the question by a student on the Pulwama attack, Gandhi went on to speak on a range of issues. Here are the major higlights from Rahul Gandhi’s address:

On education system

Gandhi said educational institutions are being used as instruments of ideology. Gandhi said there has been a concerted effort to put people belonging to a certain ideology as heads of educational institutions.

“Educational institutions should not be used as instruments to propagate an ideology, which is being done now,” Gandhi said.

“Vice Chancellors these days are ideological people from an organisation. They are not concerned with global vision and feelings of students. They are only concerned with their own ideology and want to use India’s education system as a weapon. It is an insult to students,” he added.

He also said the only task of political parties and the government should be to be provide funding and autonomy to academic institutions.

Attacking the current government, he said, “When I say government should support education, it means, making bank loans easier, scholarships, adding more universities and pushing enrollment. If you look at all these numbers, they have fallen in the BJP regime.”

“When we were in power during UPA I and UPA II, we opened more than 20 universities, while this government has opened only one,” he added.

On jobs

Criticising the government on the its failure to create employment, he said, “Our current government does not even want to accept that there is employment crisis.”

Recounting his experience of his recent visit to Shamli in Uttar Pradesh, he said, “I recently visited the families of martyrs. In my journey to Shamli, I interacted with many youngsters, and many stated that they are not employed.”

He also said that India should consider China as its competitor in terms of generating employment. “In a county of over 1.2 billion people, and India is creating about 450 jobs per 24 hours while China is creating 50,000 jobs in the same 24 hours,”he said, claiming, “these are not my figures, but of the Finance Ministry given in Lok Sabha”, he claimed.

“I do not believe that China cannot be challenged. If this country turns around, makes up its mind, then no one can defeat our nation,” he added.

On politics of hate

The Congress president attacked the government, alleging that it propagates politics of hate. He said it is the responsibility of the leadership of the country to guard against it.

“If the PM of India condemns the atmosphere of hatred, then naturally the anger in the nation will diminish. Leadership should guide the nation,” he said. “We should solve the employment crisis to remove anger in the society,” he added.

“If you look at the history of this country, and look at the philosophy of Gandhi, Mahaveer, Buddha, Ashoka, they all preached love and non-violence. This was the same philosophy when I hugged Mr Modi, while he was abusing me and my family”, he said.