New Delhi: Expressing regret over police's attempts to evict protesting ex-servicemen from Jantar Mantar, the government on Friday said it respects and honours the sacrifices of former soldiers and so special permission was given to continue their agitation.
"There was no ugly scene. But still we express regret. We have felt bad whatever had happened. We stopped police immediately when we came to know. We respect and honour their sacrifices to the nation. They served the country. That is why we have given special permission (to continue the protest)," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters here.
Earlier, Rijiju had called up Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi ordering him that these defence veterans, who were protesting for the implementation of the `One Rank, One Pension` (OROP) at Jantar Mantar, should not be removed from the protest site.
"We are a sensitive government. We have brought the situation under control. I have asked the Commissioner of Police not to remove the ex-servicemen from Jantar Mantar and let them continue the protest," he said.
Rijiju said the commissioner told him that it was an Independence Day drill as it is mandated to clear all places and its an old tradition.
Earlier in the day, agitating ex-servicemen demanding implementation of OROP were allegedly manhandled by police who tried to evict them on security grounds ahead of Independence Day celebrations tomorrow.
The police said they tried to evict protesters from various outfits from Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital following a request by civic agency New Delhi Municipal Council.