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Armed Forces veterans say that they have ‘little hope’ in the statement made by the defence minister, Manohar Parrikar that the One Rank One Pension will be implemented soon after the Bihar elections.
Talking exclusively to www.jantakareporter.com, the head of the ex-servicemen movement, Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd) said, “”Keeping in view the track record of the defence minister, we have very little hope in what he says now. Though we have a lot of respect for our defence minister. But after the statement he made on 5 September, we are aghast because this was against his own understanding of One Rank One Pension. Why did he accept it, why did he not go back to the prime minister? We feel he’s been told to say what he says. If that’s what is to be implemented, then it will be unacceptable because that’s not One Rank One Pension. It will be One Rank One Pension. And there’s no question of accepting it.”
Gen Singh confirmed that he had collected around 10,000 medals to return to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he failed to deliver his election promises on the OROP.
He said,”We’ve written to Prime Minister saying that we’ve got 10,000 medals and we want to return them. I’ve been writing to him since June. Twice we’ve gone to his residence to return. Once we did not find him to return.”
“Earlier we deposited 10,000 medals with the President. They were to be kept over there till such time One Rank One Pension is granted. We will take them back once the OROP is granted. Since President was not taking, we’ve been sending letters to the Prime Minister. They are now kept in my office. Should the PM not accept our medals, we may think to give them to somewhere else.”
Gen Singh warned the central government that the ex-servicemen will intensify their agitation across the country if their demands on the OROP were not met at the earliest. He, however, refused to divulge his future plans.
“What plans we have , I would not like to discuss them..We will intensify our agitation. And we will spread it across the country. We will seek support of all 125 crores of Bhartis. And we will take up this andolan at the national level.If the notification comes out that’s satisfactory and which does not defeat the definition of the proposal sent by the defence minister on 17 March. That means 8,300 crores. We will respect the decision and go back to our houses. As I said to you last time, if any country doesn’t respect its soldiers, is doomed to fail.”
He also slammed the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh for his reported comments that the government was actively thinking of implementing the OROP for the retired paramilitary forces.
Rajnath Singh, during a visit to the forward deployments of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Ladakh earlier in the last week of September this year, had assured the ITBP personnel that he would look into their demands for OROP, a better pension plan and military service pay (MSP).
Gen Singh said, “Don’t want to comment on (demands made by retired para-military forces) because there’s no comparison. As far as we are concerned, if anyone is to be give (the OROP), it is the defence forces because their task is different, their structures are different and they have to be managed differently. The home minister’s statement is unethical that they are like the defence forces. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be drawn into it, but I ever have a meeting directly with the home minister, I would like to look into his eyes. When he was the president of the BJP what did he tell us at that time. He should not make double-standard statements. “
Gen Satbir Singh had earlier told www.jantakareporter.com that the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley had confessed to deliberately misleading the ex-servicemen on the OROP during the Lok Sabha elections.
According to him, Jaitley had told them the BJP’s poll promises to soldiers were just electioneering tactics and ‘never meant to be honoured.’
Gen Singh said, “One thing I have learnt that what any of these politicians say are never meant to be believed. That’s the rule number one in India. Mr Jaitley when he was the defence minister, had told me, ‘why don’t you lower your expectations?’
“We told him that the OROP had only one definition. It had only one calculation. It had only one implication. We reminded him that this was in their election manifesto. To which he said, ‘You see General, all the assurances that politicians give during elections are not meant to be executed.’ What a shameful thing for him to say in front of ten of us. If a responsible minister says this then I have no faith in the political system.”