Taking exception to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks against the ex-servicemen protesting over the One Rank One Pension notification, Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh said it was “unbecoming” of him (Parrikar) to make such observations as it can badly affect the morale of the existing soldiers, who are going to be ex-servicemen tomorrow.
“This is adding insult to the injury”, he remarked.
In a letter to the Defence Minister, Capt Amarinder referred to his recent statements where he had bluntly said ‘no more concessions on OROP’ and ‘the behaviour of ex-servicemen protesting the notification on the OROP scheme is unlike that of a soldier’.
Stating that it was an insult to the military fraternity to accuse them of “indiscipline”, Capt Amarinder asserted, “if this country has an institution that is completely loyal and disciplined, it is our armed forces and your statement is nothing but an insult”.
Sharing the sentiments of the ex-servicemen returning the medals, Capt Amarinder said, “if today the ex-servicemen are returning their medals, this is the ultimate that they can do”.
He pointed out, these medals are a soldieru2019s prized possession and not government charity.
These were won by them on the battle field for gallantry or distinguished service, and are worn with pride, he said adding that this was all he has to himself after his life spent in the defence of our country.
“I hope this will bring home to you the deep hurt, anguish and humiliation faced by all who once donned the uniform of our country”, he told the Defence Minister.
Making a strong case for undiluted OROP, the former Punjab Chief Minister pointed out, “your government can give a hundred and twenty five lakh crores to Bihar, obviously to ensure votes, and 80,000 crores to Jammu and Kashmir and yet deny an extra Rs 1000 crore to those patriots who have helped in keeping J&K in this country by shedding their blood and sweat over the past 68 years. Does any day pass without pictures of the tri-colour wrapped coffins arriving from Kashmir that appear in our papers?”
He said, if the government can allocate Rs 8000 crore, how much difference Rs 1000 crore more will make to satisfy the veteransu2019 demands.
“You say you have given Rs 8000 crore, is a thousand crores more, too much? Does annual equalisation pose much of a problem for your ministry, full of bureaucrats?” he asked, while warning him not to be misled by the bureaucrats.