NEW DELHI: Opening a full blown attack on the government, ten former Service Chiefs have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking inquiry into police action against protesting ex-servicemen, even as two retired army men sat on hunger strike unto death at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in protest against the delay in implementing the scheme for pension parity.
Col Pushpinder Singh (retd) of the 3 Grenadiers and Havilder Major Singh (retd) of 3 Sikh Light Infantry have spurned all requests to reconsider their “fast-unto-death”. While sitting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, the veterans said that they were forced to escalate matters after PM Modi failed to announce OROP in his Independence Day speech.
Former army chief and union minister Gen VK Singh has appealed to the protesting retired personnel saying the “issue can be sorted out only through discussions”.
Meanwhile, expressing displeasure at police action against ex-servicemen on the eve of Independence Day, ten former chiefs of the three Defence Services in an open letter to the PM have sought ‘immediate action’ against the errant police officers.
“This indiscretion on the part of the police has seriously impacted the pride and morale of all ranks of the three services and the veterans. These veterans are the same soldiers, who have displayed unflinching loyalty towards the Constitution and the Nation during their service and still remain motivated to die for a noble cause. Unfortunately their dignity and pride today stand scarred and is a cause for serious concern,” the letter said.
“There is only one definition of ‘One Rank One Pension’ and that has been accepted both by the current and previous Parliaments and also by the Raksha Mantri in the presence of the veterans. This is “uniform pension to be paid to the armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement”.
They said that defence minister had already consulted with service headquarters and representatives of ex-servicemen community and MoD official approved a Rs 8,300 cr Model in Feb 2014 based on formula of maximum pension data.
What they said:
■ The One Rank, One Pension scheme is based on simple arithmetic and standard pension tables of the government
■ Deliberation will be thought to be with the view of changing parameters and diluting entitlements in the scheme
■ Any further delay will damage the pride of veterans and lower morale of Armed Forces
■ Annual review system required to be put in place for equalisation of pension for retirees