India’s war veterans protesting over the implementation of One Rank One Pension scheme sent a passionate appeal to former service chiefs requesting them not to take part in functions commemorating 1965 war victory.
In an open letter, United Ex-Servicemen Front (UFESM) spokesperson Col. Anil Kaul (retd) ex service chiefs of three wings of the armed forces to send a “loud and clear” message to the government.
The letter said,”All of you are today’s ex-servicemen, notwithstanding the top most post you held in service. In accordance with the policy of UFESM to boycott the golden jubilee functions of the Indo-Pak war of ’65, you too should not be attending the same to send the message loud and clear of the unfairness of handling of the OROP case by the government of India.”
He continued, “This action should make the supreme commander (President Pranab Mukherjee) ask for a presentation which we will gladly organise as per standards of those of former chiefs.”
“Attending these functions by any ESM irrespective of rank particularly by some of you and certain former C-in-Cs is being viewd poorly by your erstwhile rank and file. Remember, ‘The men you command next always and everytime’,” the letter added.
The veterans, whose protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar entered 95th day on Thursday meanwhile, said rallies will be held in places like Ambala, Pathankot, Kathua, Jammu and also poll-bound Patna.
The veterans are also planning programmes to honour war veterans among themselves and widows of 1965 India-Pakistan war.
On Thursday, 22 people sat on relay hunger strike here.
Advertisements were also seen in leading newspapers, inviting people to come to Jantar Mantar and support the veterans.
On Thursday, Jantakareporter.com also carried a passionate column written by an ex army officer Col SS Cheema (retd), who said that despite belonging to a family whose three generations had served in armed forces, he would not allow his son to join the army.
” My son will join army at my dead bodies,” he had written.
The central government on 5 September announced that it had accepted One Rank One Pension for the army veterans.
In a hurriedly called news conference, the defence minister, Manohar Parrikar told reporters that contrary to the fund (Rs 500 crore) allocated by the UPA government, his government had earmarked more than Rs 8000 crore to meet the veterans’ demands.
Reacting to the announcement, the head of the protesting ex-servicement, Maj Gen(Retd) Satbir said that while he was happy on the announcement, the servicemen had rejected the offer as the government had only met one out of their seven demands.
He told mediapersons at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, ” We welcome the announcement on OROP and are satisfied with that. But we are not at all pleased that the government has excluded armed forces personnel who took VRS from enjoying the benefits of OROP. It is disappointing and we will seek clarification.”