Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday met ex-servicemen protesting at Jantar Mantar and expressed full support to their demands regarding One Rank One Pension (OROP).
Stating that the government has been unjust to the veterans, Mr. Kejriwal said all their demands are logical and what has been promised has not been delivered. He also rejected the notification issued by the government on November 7 and asked the government to immediately accept the demands of the veterans.
“The notification of November 7 is not OROP. There are seven deviations from the definition accepted by the Parliament,” said Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retd), chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).
The government issued the official notification to implement OROP but was promptly rejected by the veterans. Speaking at a Navy event in Chennai, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said “OROP was an election promise of the BJP. I feel the promise has been fulfilled.”
Mr. Parrikar clarified on the issue of pension equalisation every five years, which veterans are demanding to be revised annually. “Para 6.4 of Koshiary Committee says pay review in 5 years an acceptable proposal,” he observed referring to the Parliamentary Standing Committee report of 2011, which has defined OROP and is widely accepted. However, he made no mention to the contentious clause to keep military personnel opting pre-mature retirement (PMR), after the notification has been issued, out of the ambit of OROP.
Medals returned at India Gate
Later, ex-servicemen proceeded to India Gate and deposited their medals, which were left there to be collected by the government. “About 1,200 medals had been deposited today. We have 10,000 medals with us and more are being sent to us every day from across the country,” said Gp. Cpt. V.K. Gandhi (retd) of IESM. These medals could be retuned in later stages. Apart from returning medals, the veterans are also considering other escalatory measures to increase pressure on the government.