Former Service chiefs write to PM on OROP

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ten former military chiefs expressed regret that no announcement on OROP was made on Independence Day.

Updated - November 17, 2021 03:12 am IST

Published - August 17, 2015 03:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A war widow takes part in a protest demanding One Rank One Pension, in New Delhi last week.

A war widow takes part in a protest demanding One Rank One Pension, in New Delhi last week.

"Deeply perturbed and distressed by the high-handed treatment of armed forces' veterans on August 14 at Jantar Mantar, ten former defence chiefs from the three services wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi "unequivocally" condemning the police action and urged the Government to investigate and take immediate action.

"This indiscretion on the part of the police has seriously impacted the pride and morale of all ranks of the three services and the veterans," the letter says.

Observing that they had not approached the Prime Minister on the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP) earlier as they had "full faith" in the announcements made by the senior political leadership from time to time, they expressed regret that no announcement was made on Independence Day.

A day before Independence Day the >police tried to evict protesting ex-servicemen from Jantar Mantar citing security risk but relented later after a strong social media and media backlash.

There is only one definition of “One Rank One Pension” the letter reiterates and that has been accepted both by the current and previous Parliaments and also by the Defence Minister in the presence of the Veterans.

The former chiefs strongly urged the Government to settle this issue "expeditiously" and in an "urgent time frame". Any further delays they observed will be at the cost of "damaging the pride of the veterans and lowering the morale of the Armed Forces".

Announcing major escalation in protests, some veterans have announced a fast on to death apart to boycotting all government functions and taking the protest to poll bound states.

Ex-servicemen had been on relay-hunger strike since June 15 at Jantar Mantar demanding early implementation of OROP.

Ex-servicemen intensify protests for OROP

“We stand steadfastly by the side of our colleagues and fully support their just cause,” they added.

Last week, four other former Services chiefs had written an open letter to the President of India expressing anguish at the “humiliation” of the veterans and calling for his immediate intervention to end the issue.

‘Depute Minister’

Meanwhile, Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, who visited the veterans at Jantar Mantar, said in a letter to Mr. Modi that, “It is a shame on the country that such a situation has developed which makes a mockery of the concept of Jai Jawan.” She requested the Prime Minister to depute a Minister to “express regret” to the personnel on behalf of the government.

On OROP, Ms. Karat said: “Mr. Prime Minister, the entire country is in solidarity and in support of the immediate implementation of the OROP. There is the widest consensus on this issue across all political parties and across all States.”

Fast unto death

Escalating their protests for OROP, two veterans Col. (retd.) Pushpender Singh and Havaldar (retd.) Major Singh, have begun a fast unto death at Jantar Mantar from Monday. This comes after no announcement was made by Mr. Modi on OROP in his Independence Day speech. Ex-servicemen had been on relay hunger strike since June 15 at Jantar Mantar demanding early implementation of OROP.

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