NEW DELHI: The ‘One Rank One Pension’ row escalated on Monday with Col Pushpendra Singh (Retd), who had been on a fast-unto-death for the last eight days demanding its immediate implementation, being shifted to Army hospital here after his medical report showed increased ketone levels. “The doctor who examined him today(Monday), said his ketone level has increased and he needs to be immediately shifted. Col Singh was reluctant but we persuaded him to be moved to the hospital,” said Major General Satbir Singh, chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement. High levels of ketones are toxic to the body.
Even as he was being taken to the hospital, another veteran Havildar Saheb Singh (Retd) took his place and began an indefinite fast. Two others-- Havildar Major Singh (Retd) and Havildar Ashok Chauhan (Retd) - are also on a similar protest. “I will come back and continue my fast. I am not ready to go but the people here say high ketone level will affect the functioning of the brain,” said Col Pushpender, adding, the government should immediately implement the long pending demand for OROP so that the soldiers on hunger strike can end the protest. Pushpender was initially supposed to be taken to Rockland Hospital. “Delhi administration and Delhi Police personnel tried to hijack the ambulance and take him to RML hospital. We took him to Army Research and Referral Hospital in a private car. We have also requested the Army Chief to ensure the best possible treatment for him,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd).
Pushpender’s daughter said, “The soldiers are angry now and the government should ensure that the soldiers are given their due and are not treated in this manner.”
Meanwhile, Union Minister Gen(Retd) V K Singh has championed the former defence personnel’s cause in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Sunday, Singh’s elder daughter Mrinalini Singh had also vowed support for the protesting ex-servicemen. The ex-servicemen have been protesting for the early implementation of OROP for over two months and are hoping to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon. Four former service Chiefs recently wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee, the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, asking him to “urgently intervene” in the OROP row. Besides, 10 former defence Chiefs had written a joint letter to Modi seeking early implementation of OROP.