Veterans boycott 1965 war functions

Military veterans on Friday boycotted the official functions for commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak war, and held their own felicitation at the Jantar Mantar protest site here.

The ex-servicemen, who have been on an agitation demanding One Rank One Pension, hardened their stance after talks with the government remained inconclusive on Thursday.

“I think the bureaucracy doesn’t want to give us OROP,” said Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retd.) who was among those who met Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh and PMO officials.

Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retd.), who was among those who met Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh and PMO officials in South Block to sort out the One Rank One Pension dispute told The Hindu on Friday that “the very intention [of the bureaucracy] seems to be to first dilute it, then deny it.”

According to him, the government had gone back on what it had promised on OROP. “We will wait till Monday for the government to respond favourably or we will intensify our stir,” he said. Sources said that in a bid to reduce the financial burden on the exchequer, the government had proposed that the basis year for implementation be 2011 instead of 2014, declined the three per cent annual increase that was sought and also suggested that the scheme be effective from April 1, 2015 instead of April 1, 2014. These were promptly rejected by the veterans.

“We don’t know what went wrong. We were not asking for more than what was sanctioned. We wanted yearly equalisation of pension and were willing to agree to two years,” Maj. Gen. Singh said. The veterans reiterated their demand that the 7th Pay Commission not be involved in OROP. “It should be a concept in perpetuity.”

The veterans felicitated their own who had participated in the 1965 war amid shouts of “OROP le ke rahenge.”

As India marked 50 years of the 1965 war with Pakistan, there seemed to be widespread resentment among even those who participated in the war. August 28 is also known as the Hajipir Day. Brig. Arvinder Singh (retd.) was a young Major and Company Commander in 1 Para that captured the Hajipir Pass and got injured in a grenade blast, this day half a century ago.

He turned down a government invitation to lay a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi on Friday morning and chose to spend the day with his unit in Himachal Pradesh.

“When I got the call, I told them I’d be very happy to come if OROP is sanctioned by then. Mr. [Narendra] Modi had started his campaign from an ex-servicemen rally in Rewari and made that promise. We did expect he would honour his word,” Brig. Singh said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 2:37:25 PM |

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