The head of ex-servicemen protesting over the implementation of One Rank One Pension, Maj Gen Satbir Singh on Thursday lashed out at the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for describing the armed forces veterans’ movement as politically motivated.
Parrikar on Thursday had asked the army veterans to ‘prove if they are not political.’
Gen Singh told jantakareporter.com, “I don’t want to use harsh words, but the honourable defence minister, this is not the truth… You know and agree that your proposal has not been accepted by the finance minister. Please don’t blame us. We are not here to prove to you any of our political or apolitical stand. Our only stand is that One Rank One Pension must be implemented in letter and spirit of the approved definition by the parliament. Don’t use harsh words against us erstwhile soldiers. It’s hurting and insulting.”
Gen Singh revealed that Parrikar had told them that he would return to Goa if he failed to keep his word on the OROP.
He said, “”Look into our eyes and tell us if this One Rank One Pension. You have not granted us any meeting despite our requests since 5 September. Mr defence minister, you even told us that you will go back to Goa if your right words are not upheld. Mr defence minister, today is the time. for you to take stand.”
On Thursday, Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, visit the protesting soldiers at Jantar Mantar to express his support. Gen Singh said that the movement had received support from a wide range of people belonging to various political parties including Rahul Gandhi, the BJP, the TMC, Samajwadi Party and Nitish Kumar.
“They are Indians. Why shouldn’t support the cause for the nation? Do you think these parties are social outcast? No. They part of Bharat and I love my Bharat. There are 1,67,000 soldiers in Delhi and Mr Kejriwal is the state’s chief minister. He said, ‘I fully support your cause and the notification is not correct. It must be withdrawn. All the seven shortcomings brought out must be removed and a fresh notification should be issued.”
Parrikar had recently said that the central government had fulfilled its promises on the OROP and the soldiers were free to continue with their protests. But, Gen Singh’s revelation on Parrikar may cause further embarrassment for the defence minister.