Ex-servicemen suspend 325-day relay hunger strike for OROP
Ex-servicemen, under the banner of United Front of Ex-Servicemen, decided to suspend their 325-day long relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Friday. While suspending the relay hunger strike to press for resolution of anomalies in implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP), the ex-servicemen have now vowed to use ‘power of votes’.
“We have decided to use ‘Power of Votes’ in all elections in the States and Centre. We request all members of the Sainik Samaj to understand and use this ‘Power of Votes’ for the interest and benefit of Sainik Samaj in the coming State elections. We will soon be focusing on this important factor to restore our status in all respects. ESM (Ex-Servicemen) in various states who have the interest should come forward and fight elections from Panchyat to Parliament,” stated a ‘historic’ press release issued by Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, Advisor, United Front of Ex-Servicemen and Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).
Anuradha Deo Phadnis, a Nagpurian and the only lady member on central body of United Front of Ex-Servicemen, told ‘The Hitavada’ that the historic 325-day long strike was suspended temporarily as a ‘goodwill gesture’. “We request Prime Minister and Defence Minister to kindly consider and resolve the anomalies in implementation of OROP at the earliest,” she said.
According to Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, political parties and the Governments of the day did not pay any attention to the Defence Forces since they thought that serving and retired servicemen were spread across the country and did not use their ‘vote power’. This thought had a lot to do with the neglect of Defence personnel by political parties. Stating that the ex-servicemen had carried out a study and research across the country in various states, he stated that servicemen had direct influence of over six crore votes and their capability of opinion making was so large in villages and tehsils that they could influence another four crore votes indirectly. “This large number of voting strength can affect the election outcome of at least 150 Parliamentary constituencies and over 450 State Assembly constituencies across the country. Hence, we have decided to use the ‘power of votes’ to press for our demands that include restoring the dignity of the Defence forces,” he added. After shedding light on the long agitation, Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh pointed out that there were ‘serious and large number of anomalies’ in recommendations of Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC). If the recommendations are approved in the present form, it will further ‘degrade and downgrade’ the profession of Defence forces, he alleged. “The degradation, downgradation, ill-treatment, and mistreatment of Military in status, pay, pension, and allowances have to stop and the status of Defence forces in all respects as it existed on January 26, 1950 needs to be restored at the earliest,” stated Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh.
Read at: Thehitvada