National

Veterans rebuff PM’s aide; one more joins fast

On Monday, 10 former services chiefs wrote an open letter to the PM asking for expeditious resolution of the OROP issue. Photo: Prashant Nakwe

On Monday, 10 former services chiefs wrote an open letter to the PM asking for expeditious resolution of the OROP issue. Photo: Prashant Nakwe   | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe

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Representatives seek concrete assurance from the government to call off agitation

On a day when a third ex-serviceman Havildar (retd.) Ashok Chauhan joined two other veterans on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar for early implementation of the one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme, representatives of the movement met Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the issue.

Mr. Mishra reportedly pointed to the remarks made by the Prime Minister during his Independence Day speech.

The two representatives Lt. Gen. (retd.) Balbir Singh and Maj. Gen. (retd.) Satbir Singh said after the meeting that if there was a concrete assurance from the government they would call off the stir.

To wait till Aug. 25

Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh said they would wait till August 25 for a final announcement of the OROP scheme.

However, Colonel (retd.) Pushpinder Singh and Havildar (retd.) Major Singh, who began an indefinite fast on Monday, have refused to suspend it despite appeals from other veterans.

Refuse to give up fast

Lt. Gen. (retd.) Balbir Singh and Maj. Gen. (retd.) Satbir Singh, who met Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to sort out the OROP issue, said they would wait till August 25 for a final announcement.

However, Colonel (retd.) Pushpinder Singh and Havildar (retd.) Major Singh who began an indefinite fast on Monday have so far refused to defer it despite appeals from other veterans.

The government’s move comes after continued criticism on social media and media over the treatment meted out to ex-servicemen protesting at Jantar Mantar last week and ex-servicemen intensifying their agitation.

On Monday, 10 former services chiefs wrote an open letter to the PM asking for expeditious resolution of the issue.

Mr. Modi in his address from the Red Fort on August 15 said: “Talks are going on, and very soon, a decision would be reached. Discussions have come to the final leg. We are finding a solution, and I am hoping for a positive result.” This disappointed the veterans who were expecting an announcement on the issue.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar too asked the veterans to postpone their fast till August 24 as he would be meeting Mr. Modi on August 23 to discuss the issue.

In the run-up to the morning’s meeting, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh spoke on the phone with Lt. Gen. Balbir Singh and Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh late on Monday evening and assured them that the issue would be sorted out soon. Gen. Singh agreed to try and fix up a meeting with the Prime Minister tentatively on August 24.

Meanwhile, soon after Mr. Mishra met the veterans, Delhi Joint Commissioner of Police M.K. Meena met the veterans and expressed regret at the ‘unfortunate incident of August 14’.

Stating that soldiers were not a security threat, Mr. Meena said there was some “confusion” and that was due to the “issue of security”. He gave an assurance that the police are with the veterans every step of the way and this was welcomed.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:53:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/orop-veterans-rebuff-pms-aide-one-more-joins-fast/article7554555.ece

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