War Veterans Demanding One Rank One Pension Talk More Protests, Fast Unto Death

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The enviromnment is restive, it will be difficult to stem the tide if things go out of hand, said Col (Retd) Airat Jodshpura.


New Delhi:  The retired servicemen who have been on protest for a week demanding the rollout of the One Rank One Pension scheme, now say they are thinking of intensifying their protest - and one of the ways being considered is fast unto death.

At New Delhi's Jantar Mantar, where batches of ex-servicemen are sitting on rotational hunger strike every day, say they do not want any more discussions on the matter -- in Parliament or outside. They want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set a date for the implementation of the scheme.  

"Have you ever seen a fauji coming and saying 'I'll have a committee to discuss this'? Why do we have committee after committee for a fauji who has given his best to the nation?" said  Col (retired) Anil Kaul, a recipient of Vir Chakra.

No road blocks have been planned yet, but the protesting war veterans say it is one of the methods being considered. For now, they say, they will hold agitations at all poll-bound states.

"The environment is restive... my comrades and colleagues have behaved as uniformed men should, but patience is running out and it will be difficult to stem the tide if things go out of hand," said Col (Retd) Airat Jodshpura

Already, protests are being held in 55 cities and villages across all states.

OROP was a key poll promise of the BJP-led government, but its introduction has been delayed. What made it more difficult was that its introduction involves various departments. Sources told NDTV that the file is shuttling between the finance and defence ministries.

The Narendra Modi government has said it is committed to the policy, but has refused to specify a timeline for its implementation.

The scheme seeks to ensure that defence personnel who retire at the same rank and with the same length of service, will get equal pension, irrespective of when they retired. Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to benefit from it.


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