Extending solidarity with the protesting ex-servicemen seeking immediate implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, 10 former service chiefs have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the issue must be resolved expeditiously within a time frame as any further delay will lower the morale of armed forces.
The former service chiefs--Generals VN Sharma, Shankar Roy Choudhary, S Padmanabhan, NC Vij, JJ Singh, Deepak Kapoor and Bikram Singh; Air Chief Marshals NC Suri and SP Tyagi; and Chief Admiral Madhvendra Singh--also sought immediate action against Delhi Police officials for their high handedness on 14 August against the veterans during their protest at Jantar Mantar.
"We had earlier not approached the Honourable Prime Minister as we had full faith in the announcements made by our senior political leadership from time to time. We were also hopeful that the announcement of the implementation of the OROP would be made to the Nation on Independence Day. Regrettably this has not happened," a report said quoting the letter to the prime minister.
"We have full faith in our political leadership but their inability to clinch the issue leaves us dismayed. We stand steadfastly by the side of our colleagues and fully support their just cause," the letter says justifying the ongoing protest of ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar.
Two veteran soldiers begin fast-unto-death
Meanwhile, two of the agitating ex-servicemen--retired officer Col Pushpender Singh and former havaldar Major Singh--launched fast-unto-death to step up the stir on the OROP issue.
The development comes two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to announce a firm date for launching the OROP scheme in his Independence Day speech on Saturday. He had said that his government had accepted the OROP scheme in principle and that he expected a positive outcome on its implementation.
The veterans' agitation entered its 64th day on Monday. So far, they had only took part in relay hunger strikes. There are nearly 24 lakh retired servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who are expected to benefit when the OROP comes into effect.