Serving officers of Indian army say they are ‘extremely disappointed’ with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech as he did not ‘address our concerns on One Rank One Pension.’
PM Modi, while delivering his annual Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in Delhi, said that while his government had accepted OROP, talks were still on with the ‘concerned people’ thereby causing further delay in its implementation.
An Colonel in Indian army told Jantakareporter.com that officers were extremely disappointed with how ‘Modi chose to comfortably ignore our cause.”
He said, “We are not political people. But he (Modi) should go as he’s clearly let the military down. We are very angry that even after ill-treating our grandparents (ex-servicemen), he has not announced any firm date to implement OROP.”
Delhi police on Friday had tried to forcibly evict the protesting army veterans from Jantar Mantar arguing that they were security threats ahead of Independence Day celebrations in the capital. This had cause widespread anger and social media users had slammed the government for its ‘ill-advised’ decision.
Later in the day, serving members of Indian army had warned the Indian government of dire consequences if they didn’t stop ‘insulting their seniors.
Anger is also palpable amongst the soldiers for their own army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose role, they say has been ‘very poor.’
One army officer, who’s recently been posted to Delhi, said, ” We are apolitical and bound by army’s code of conduct. But, it’s been frustrating to see how even our chief has been behaving as nothing more than a mute spectator to all these shenanigans. He should, at least, have gone to meet the protesting ex-servicemen or given a statement expressing his solidarity with them.”
The officer, who requested not to be named, said that most of the soldiers felt General Suhag should have boycotted today’s Independence Day celebration.
The last time General Suhag had openly commented on OROP was in March, when he assured the ex-soldiers that the OROP would be implemented in April.
Addressing a rally of of 17,000 ex-servicemen in Haryana, General Suhag had said, ” The OROP will come out in the same principle as desired. It will be effective from April 1, 2014 and may be approved latest by April 30 this year. However, delay does not matter as arrears will be given.”
The implementation of OROP will ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Once implemented, nearly three million ex-servicemen will benefit from this scheme.