Ex-servicemen Launch Relay Hunger Strike For One-Rank-One-Pension
HYDERABAD: Expressing solidarity with the ex-servicemen who are on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar in Delhi seeking implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP), nearly 100 ex-servicemen launched a relay hunger strike near Indira Park here on Tuesday.
An 85-year-old Krishna Murthy, a veteran who took part in World War II and retired in 1975, who took part in the relay hunger strike, said: “I worked in the Army for 28 years. I started as a Sepoy and retired as a Subedar. I even worked in places where one cannot even see grass. When we all have worked like that, why is the government discriminating amongst us?”
“Five or six ex-servicemen will be sitting on a relay hunger strike from 9 am to 6 pm everyday and this will continue till the government sanctions OROP. Though some ex-servicemen who are on an indefinite fast in Delhi have developed severe health complications and hospitalised, the prime minister or other ministers have not bothered to visit Jantar Mnatar or invite the organisers to discussions. It is sad to see that the government is ready to have talks with people who use violence as a weapon but not with the people who are guarding the country,” Commander PS Nath, vice-president of Triservices Ex-servicemen’s Welfare Association, which is organising the relay hunger strike here, said.
“A country which respects its soldiers will become powerful and that’s the reason why we see the USA as a leader. When other countries are giving their veterans a pension of 70 pc of their basic pay, why is our government paying just 33 pc? If they can’t take care of a soldier who is ready to die for his country, then how do they expect him to give his 100 pc? If the government continues to have the same thinking, there might come a time when no one will be ready to join the Army. What will they do then? Ask other countrries’ soldiers to protect us,” asked Colonel Veeramani, who participated in the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars.
“If the government can give OROP to IAS, IPS, other civil servants, MPs, Supreme Curt and High Court judges, why can’t they do it for armed forces pensioners? The entire country is living peacefully because the Army is guarding the borders against heavy odds. It is really unfortunate the promise made many times is not being kept,” Brigadier Vidyasagar said.
The main demand of the ex-servicemen is sanction of OROP so that irrespective of which year a soldier retires, he gets the same pension as his counterpart who retires in the same rank. They are also asking for annual revision of pension.