New Delhi: Ex-servicemen on Saturday took their 76-day-old agitation a notch higher seeking the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the vexed issue of 'One Rank One Pension', stating that if any "damage or mishap happens" to those on hunger strike he and the government will be "solely responsible".
In a letter to the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFESM) said a soldier is supposed to kill enemy before laying down his life for country, "But under your rule, a soldier's life is at stake and is being wasted as he is being deprived of his legitimate dues".
UFESM, an umbrella organisation of agitating veterans, noted that as many as four former soldiers, who are on fast- unto-death, have been hospitalised and that health of another ex-serviceman Havildar Major Singh, who was on an indefinite fast since August 16, was fast deteriorating.
"Panel of Doctors has declared that his medical condition has deteriorated to dangerous level and he needs to be hospitalised immediately to save his life," the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to PMO, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP President Amit Shah, said.
Havildar Major has refused to be evacuated to the hospital and "he is steadfast" in his resolve that he will not take any medical treatment till OROP is implemented as per the approved definition, it said. However, Havildar Major has been sent to the hospital for detailed check-ups.
"Your Excellency and the Government of India will be solely responsible if any damage/mishap happens to Havildar Major Singh or any other ex-servicemen because of hunger strike," it said.
The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014.
The veterans said that there are some issues where financial cost cannot be the sole determinant factor and that the pensions of defence veterans is one of these.
"OROP stands approved both by the UPA as well as the present NDA government. However, its implementation has not been carried out so far for the reason best known to your government," the letter said.
Meanwhile, another veteran Havildar Abhilash Singh, who was on a relay hunger strike, was admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated.