OROP protests to continue as talks fail

Another agitator takes ill, rushed to Army Hospital
Last Updated 25 August 2015, 21:00 IST

As one more retired soldier on the fast-unto-death agitation demanding implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme was taken to hospital on Tuesday, the protesters refused to call off their agitation after an inconclusive late-evening meeting with Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Havaldar (retd) Ashok Chauhan, who is on fast since August 18, was shifted to the Army Hospital on Tuesday after his health deteriorated. Another fasting soldier, Col Pushpendra Singh (retd), had been taken to the Army's R&R Hospital on Monday.
Yet another protester, Havaldar Major Singh, refused evacuation.

Meanwhile, two more veterans — Maj (retd) Piar Chand and Naik (retd) Uday Singh — joined the fast-unto-death protest, which entered its ninth day on Tuesday, at Jantar Mantar. They replaced Col Pushpendra and Hav Chauhan.

With the pressure mounting on the government, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

The ex-servicemen met the Army Chief but did not accept the government's proposal on the OROP roll out plan. A meeting with Modi may be on the cards. At the moment, there is no question of a climb-down and the agitation would continue, said the retired soldiers.

There were unconfirmed reports on the announcement of a “breakthrough” on August 28 — the day chosen by the NDA government to kick-start its commemoration of the 1965 Indo-Pak war. The officials, however, remain tight-lipped.

OROP is a long-standing demand of armed forces personnel, who claim a huge discrepancy in their pension depending on their date of retirement. They demand rectification of the norms so everybody retiring at the same rank and after serving the same number of years gets the same pension.

Ex-servicemen have been protesting for over 70 days seeking the implementation of OROP, and started the hunger strike on August 15.

(Published 25 August 2015, 21:00 IST)

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