Hundreds of retired paramilitary personnel from across the country on Sunday held a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to demand One Rank One Pension (OROP) for all servicemen that will provide the same pension for the same rank, for the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
The protest comes just weeks after 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in a suicide attack on a convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14. Several others have been killed since then in encounters with terrorists.
"If an Army man dies, his family gets his salary till the time he would have ideally served and his full pension also after that. But the family of a CRPF soldier who loses his life doesn't get that," 65-year-old Mohammad Sher of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch, who served as a constable in the CRPF for 26 years, told NDTV.
"We should also get martyr status," he added.
Earlier today, a CRPF soldier died due to injuries that he suffered in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara. On Saturday, two CRPF soldiers were killed in shelling across the Line of Control in the Poonch district.
"We leave our families, our parents and work in all corners of the country. The previous as well as the current government treat is in an unfair manner," Kerala's George CV, 65, who served as a Head Constable in the CRPF for 24 years, told NDTV.
"We may be called 'ardhsainiks' but those are our shoulders that the 'sainiks' use. We lift the armed forces up and enable them to perform their duty," he added.
Hurling flags and banners, the ex-servicemen also demanded that soldiers posted in tense areas be given special allowances. Their other demands include wider access to government healthcare services and access to subsidised canteen services like the Army.
The retired security personnel also carried out a candle march around Jantar Mantar.
Today's protest also saw young paramilitary aspirants who have alleged corruption in government procedures that have led to vacancies in the security forces that are not being filled.
"In 2011, 72,000 vacancies were announced by the Staff Selection Commission but only 44,000 seats were filled," 28-year-old Ram Ratan Meena claimed, adding, "We have met the Home Minister also but we have only been given false assurances."
"It is our dream that our body should contribute to the nation. If I die, the shroud over my dead body should be the Tricolor," Ram said.