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Defence veterans to continue protest, fast-unto-death for One Rank One Pension, say their motto is do or die

Defence veterans to continue protest, fast-unto-death for One Rank One Pension, say their motto is do or die

Colonel (retired) Pushpinder Singh, Havalder (retired) Major Singh and Havaldar (retired) Ashok Chauhan are on fast-unto-death at Jantar mantar in Delhi.

Retired defence personnel and war widows will continue their protest for the immediate implementation of One Rank One Pension after failing to get any assurance from the Centre. Major General Satbir Singh (retired), Chairman of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, met Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office Nripendra Misra on Tuesday but there was no positive outcome.

The Major General (retired) said that Misra asked for time till August 25 to finalise the OROP scheme and its implementation and if there is no announcement till then, then a group of ex-servicemen will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day later on August 26. "There has been no breakthrough in talks. The fast-unto-death will continue and our motto is do or die. The Prime Minister must implement the scheme," said Major General (retired) Satbir Singh.

Three former defence personnel - Colonel (retired) Pushpinder Singh of 3 Grenadiers, Havalder (retired) Major Singh of 3 Sikh Light Infantry and Havaldar (retired) Ashok Chauhan - are on fast-unto-death at Jantar mantar in Delhi. While Colonel (retired) Pushpinder Singh and Havalder (retired) Major Singh began their fast on (Monday) August 17, Havaldar (retired) Ashok Chauhan joined them on Tuesday.

The Narendra Modi government has reiterated its commitment towards the OROP but has refrained from giving a time frame on the its implementation claiming there are some technical difficulties involved.

Over 2.5 million strong ex-servicemen and war widows community has been demanding One Rank One Pension for almost four decades. It was being speculated that Modi will make an announcement on the scheme in his speech on Independence Day but he only reinstated his commitment and said that the demand will be fulfilled as soon as the technical nitty gritty is resolved.

The PM's speech left the ex servicemen hugely disappointed as this was a key promise in Modi's poll campaign during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The protesting ex-servicemen and war widows have decided to boycott all the government programmes including the 50th anniversary of 1965 war with Pakistan, which the government is planning to celebrate on August 28.

first published:August 18, 2015, 18:13 IST