OROP issue: Veterans try to burn medals

OROP issue: Veterans try to burn medals

Govt asks former chiefs to pacify ex-servicemen

OROP issue: Veterans try to burn medals
After returning their medals, a section of the protesting ex-servicemen on Wednesday tried to march up to Raisina Hills to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, but were stopped by the Delhi Police.

Hours before the march, two ex-servicemen attempted to burn their medals before television cameras, but were stopped by others in the community, who are on protest against what they call a diluted version of the one-rank-one-pension (OROP) scheme, notified by the government last week.

“We arranged a protest march from Jantar Mantar to Rashtrapati Bhavan against the diluted OROP scheme,” said a spokesperson of the ex-servicemen’s front. The protesting veterans sought an appointment with the president, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.

As the ex-servicemen returned their medals and threatened to continue their stir, the NDA government now approaches the former service chiefs to pacify the agitating veterans, who are on the streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spent his second consecutive Diwali with soldiers in Punjab, said for the first time the government while notifying the OROP scheme had set up a commission to ensure there are no shortcomings in the process. “Its a fool-proof arrangement,” he said.

While Modi dubbed OROP as a Diwali gift, one of the leading members of the protesting veterans Col Anil Kaul (rtd) said OROP was a right of the soldiers.Group Captain V K Gandhi (retd), general secretary of the Indian ex-servicemen movement, said the were fighting for their rights and a diluted OROP scheme was not acceptable. “The OROP scheme was cleared by parliament. Then why were the changes made in the scheme,” he asked.

A day before more than 2,000 ex-servicemen returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. The government officials were compelled to accept the medals as they threatened to leave the medals in the government offices.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier said that the ex-servicemen protesting against the OROP notification were misguided and not all demands by the veterans can be fulfilled.
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