Veterans mark 1965 war with own event

Mark sacrifices of 1965 war in their own way

Updated - March 29, 2016 05:01 pm IST

Published - August 24, 2015 01:53 am IST - NEW DELHI

In a move that can further embarrass the government, ex-servicemen, who have announced a boycott of all government and military functions in protest against the delay in implementing the one rank, one pension scheme, took out a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar and India Gate to commemorate in their “own way” the sacrifices of soldiers in the 1965 war.

They, however, clarified that it was not an “OROP-linked, marked or associated event” and was a way of “paying homage” to the martyrs of the war, ahead of the government-organised functions beginning around August 28.

Two weeks after roughing up the veterans to evict them from Jantar Mantar ahead of Independence Day, the Delhi Police gave permission for the candlelight march at India Gate.

Parrikar to meet Modi In a bid to resolve the issue, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. Ex-servicemen representatives too are hopeful of a meeting with Mr. Modi.

“We have taken a stand that we will not take part in any celebration,” said Major-General (Retd.) Ram Nath, who was a Commanding Officer at Khemkaran in 1965.

He was invited to attend a commemorative function at Pragati Maidan. “I have refused,” he said echoing the popular sentiment among the veterans.

The indefinite fast by three veterans has completed eight days. Colonel (Retd.) Pushpendra Singh, Havildar (Retd.) Major Singh and Havildar (Retd.) Ashok Singh Chauhan have refused to break their fast despite requests from other veterans who have agreed to give time to the government till August 25.

Though the government had on several occasions reiterated its commitment to the scheme, “technical difficulties” in working out the modalities have delayed its implementation.

Finance Ministry officials earlier told The Hindu that the scheme could not be implemented in its current form as it would derail the fiscal plan. They cited the large difference in the outlay for retired officers and jawans.

Differences crop up At Jantar Mantar on Sunday, some of these differences were on display with some retired junior commissioned officers and jawans holding a separate protest drawing attention to their concerns.

One retired Subedar Major said the current protest had become officer-centric.

OROP is a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen for parity in pension based on rank and duration of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.

It is expected to benefit over two million ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows.

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