Kejriwal demands OROP to be implemented in its true essence
Despite the fact that OROP has crossed two stages, protests by army veterans continue in New Delhi. The centre has made official announcements regarding OROP, but protests are continuing demanding the annual revision of pension.
Equal pension for all ex-servicemen is the most important goal of the OROP scheme. This can be achieved only if pension is revised based solely on the rank and years of service, once every year. Pension revision once every five years is unacceptable. This is the bone of contention for the continuing protests.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met the protesters and expressed his support. He also harshly criticized the centre. “OROP must be implemented in its true essence. The centre’s announcements are not complete because they do not reflect the essence of OROP. The centre should refrain from fooling the army veterans. They are not begging for alms. They are only fighting for what rightfully belongs to them. It is unfortunate that these veterans who fought for the country are now being forced to protest on the streets for their rights. The centre should immediately accept and implement their demands,” he said.
Meanwhile, the army veterans had threatened to return their gallantry service medals if the government did not accept their demands. Some of the frustrated veterans tried to burn down their medals. But others restrained them.
Manohar Parrikar, the Minister of Defence, while addressing a gathering in Madurai, said that returning the medals was akin to insulting the country and the armed forces. He had also clarified that OROP was the promise of a political party, not of the central government. He added that protesting was their right and that they should approach the judicial panel committee. He made it very clear that not all the demands will be fulfilled.
Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement general secretary Group Capt V.K. Gandhi (retd) also said that until the judicial committee submits it report, the veterans could not go to court. This, he said, was a “delaying tactic”.
In an article published by the Indian Express yesterday, it was said that the veterans risk losing public support due to their immoderate position and political leadership also needs to reachout to the veterans.
The army veterans are hoping for an amicable resolution of the protests through fair negotiations with the government.