Slamming Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for failing to deliver his promises on the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, the protesting army veterans on Tuesday warned the former to stop misleading the nation and dared him to meet with their delegation for an open discussion.
“Government has not given us the OROP which was assured and the notification issued has seven shortcomings. We are angry and are going to express our fury by retuning our medals from every district and let me inform you that medals have been pouring in in large numbers from across the nation,” Major General (Retd.) Satbir Singh, who is leading the protest, told ANI.
Responding to Parrikar’s statement that the behaviour of the protesting veterans is ‘unlike that of a soldier’ despite the notification on OROP scheme, Major General (Retd.) Singh said the Defence Minister needs to stop making ‘long statements’ and ‘misleading the nation’.
“The government is misleading the nation saying that they have given us OROP. Parrikar has not replied to four of my letters seeking a meeting with him. I am ready to meet him at 8 pm today at his residence or his office for an open discussion. Is he ready to accept? The government has been meeting with terrorists and militants to broker peace but they can’t speak to their soldiers for a legitimate demand to sanction a scheme?” he added.
Branding Parrikar’s comment as disgusting, he slammed all charges that the protest being taken out by the war veterans has a political or a personal agenda.
Parrikar said earlier today that while it was the democratic right of ex-servicemen to protest against the government’s version of the OROP but added that they were being ‘misguided’.
“It’s their democratic right (to protest), but I think they are misguided. If at all they have grievance they (ex-servicemen), they should put it before commission we are appointing. My major job was to get One Rank One Pension notification issued, which I have done. They must approach the Commission to discuss further problem. The demand which was not even considered for last 50 years has been more or less completed,” Parrikar said at the inauguration of ‘ICGS Samarth’ in Panaji.
The government had earlier notified the implementation of the OROP scheme that will guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
The notification, however, failed to impress veterans and they are continuing with their agitation.