On the 168th day of their protest at Jantar Mantar at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) scheme, army veterans on Wednesday said they had kept doors open for negotiations with the government, which appointed union Minister Gen V.K. Singh (retd) as mediator.
The veterans also announced a “mega rally” to be held on December 13 at Jantar Mantar.
A statement from the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement said they had a “cordial meeting” with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, where it was decided that Gen Singh would be the mediator for “conclusive negotiations”.
However, the veterans are also contemplating taking to legal recourse, the statement added.
The statement said the movement was targeting at building a nation-wide consensus to “bring to the notice of the final authority the gross injustice being meted out to those who have given their all for this nation”.
The statement also called upon all ex-servicemen groups to come together again.
“In trying to achieve all of the above there is a need for all ESM groups irrespective of their personal viewpoints to come together to stand up as one. However, not at the cost of insult or injury by word or deed by anyone who might think differently,” the statement said.
A group of ex-servicemen had broken away from the protest after the government announce the OROP on September 5.
The statement charted out the government notification of OROP and the recommendations of 7th pay commission as two major challenges.
“It may be pertinent to mention that while we appreciate the overcoming of the hurdle of acceptance of OROP by the government of the day, the final thanksgiving will have to wait till the same hurdle is cleared in a clean jump rather than the present pitfalls of a combine of created problems,” said the statement.
The veterans continuing the protests have rejected the OROP given by government, calling it “One Rank, Five Pension”.
Veterans have also demanded that the government should maintain “edge” for the armed forces in pensions, after the 7th pay commission report, without using the term OROP, announced “One Rank, One Pension” for all government employees.