1965 war celebrations: Some veterans boycott President Pranab Mukherjee's invite
There were mixed emotions of happiness, anger and anguish at Jantar Mantar as the veterans on Tuesday celebrated the victory of the 1965 war, with many boycotting the President's invite to commemorate the historic event to protest the government's decision of "not implementing" the 'One Rank One Pension' scheme as per their demands.
New Delhi: There were mixed emotions of happiness, anger and anguish at Jantar Mantar as the veterans on Tuesday celebrated the victory of the 1965 war, with many boycotting the President's invite to commemorate the historic event to protest the government's decision of "not implementing" the 'One Rank One Pension' scheme as per their demands.
Several war veterans were felicitated by giving a rose even as they flaunted their medals and flashed the invite of the President, which they had declined.
Like Col (retd) Raj Dhingra of the Rajput Regiment, many felt nostalgic as they shared the vivid memories of the battlefield.
"I am running 80 currently, but I still feel like going to the front again and battling with the enemy," Dhingra, who was injured due to a shell explosion in the 1965 war in the Poonch sector, said.
However, even as they continued their celebration, a section of war veterans were livid over OROP, which they feel the government is not implementing "as per its definition".
Flaunting a rose given to him during felicitation, Col Kirit Joshipura (retd), another war veteran and one of the protesting voices over the OROP issue at the Jantar Mantar, said, "The rose given to us by the government is full of thorns. How can we accept it?" he said.
Joshipura was referring to the impediments in the OROP announced by the government.
Incidentally, Major Gen Satbir Singh, one of the key person in the OROP agitation who was involved in negotiations with the government claimed that he had not got any invitation, but refused to elaborate on the issue.
Another veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars Wing Commander Vinod Nebb skipped the function organised by the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
"We have boycotted the function in protest as the government is yet to agree upon the OROP as per its definition," said Nebb, a Vir Chakra and BAR award recipient who had shot a Pakistani aircraft in the 1965 war.
President Pranab Mukherjee today hosted a high tea for 1965 war veterans in the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex as the country celebrated the golden jubilee of the war with Pakistan.
Amid protests by a section of ex-servicemen over the issue of OROP, some veterans attended the event along with their family members. The veterans have been protesting over several impending issues despite the government's announcement of the OROP including the revision of pension which the government has announced would happen once in five years.
The veterans claim that the government has created avoidable confusion by including VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) in their announcement as it does not exist in the defence forces and those who have taken premature retirement must come under OROP.
The ex-servicemen have also objected to the government's taking of the calendar year 2013 instead of financial year 2013-14 for fixing the base.
They are also opposed to the formation of a one-man judicial commission and demanded that it should be composed of three ex-servicemen, one serving officer and a bureaucrat.