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New Delhi: As the row over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) notified last week refuses to die down with the ex-servicemen rejecting some key provisions, on Tuesday, a group of them returned their gallantry medals in protest.
Ex-servicemen shout slogans as they return their medals to deputy collector near the IGI airport in New Delhi on Tuesday , photo BB Yadav
Colonel Anil Kaul (retd), the spokesperson of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) claimed that more than 2,000 of them returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab on Tuesday, as part of a nation-wise protest that will continue in days to come. Though in Delhi, a 100-odd of them were seen returning medals near the International airport.
Even as medals were being returned, two other groups representing ex-servicemen, the United Front of Ex- Servicemen (UFESM) and Indian Ex-servicemen League issued statements saying it was not becoming of soldiers to indulge in such kind of protests.
“UFESM condemns the action of returning medals to district collectors by ex-servicemen. We are of the view that these medals are not just piece of metals but have valuable emotional assets presented by President of India. Returning the medals at district level and in this manner is puts us in bad light in the country and abroad, “Ajit Tayal , secretary general of the group said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar termed the protests ‘unlike that of a soldier’ and said the government has done its best to keep its promises on OROP.
The government has decided to appoint a Judicial Committee to look into anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP. The Judicial Committee will submit its report in six months.
What the protestors have taken a major objection to in the OROP notification is that whereas they had been demanding re-fixing of pension every year, government said it would be done every 5 years.
OROP ensures same pension for every pension eligible armed forces personnel with same rank and same length of service irrespective of when he/she retires. Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen, and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme.