New Delhi: Retired personnel of various paramilitary forces on Monday began a three-day 'dharna' here demanding one rank one pension (OROP) benefits and other privileges under the ex-servicemen category.
An association of former officials of forces like Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal began the sit-in at Jantar Mantar here to press their demands which they said should be conceded as they are undertaking similar rigours and hardships as the defence forces.
"The dharna is to request and inform the government that its ex-paramilitary personnel are suffering. We have representatives of various states assembled here and they will continue the agitation till November 4," National General Secretary of All India Central Paramilitary Forces and Ex-servicemen Welfare Association PS Nair said.
"Our major demands to the government are the granting of OROP to paramilitary veterans like the military personnel, exemption of serving troops from contributory pension scheme and extending full benefits to these forces under the ex-servicemen category," he said.
President of the Association RB Pathak said the agitation by the paramilitary veterans will "intensify" in the coming days and they will hold a big rally next year if there is no positive communication from the government.
Close to 300 of these veterans assembled at the protest site, very close to where a similar agitation is being held by the ex-servicemen of the armed forces for the prompt implementation of the OROP for them.
They said their 'fight for right' agitation has a ten-point charter which includes a demand for change in the their common identity name from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs).
The government has recently said it will soon come out with a notification for OROP implementation for the veterans of the armed forces.
The association of the paramilitary forces said it had sent a memorandum to the government in this regard and after having failed to get a reply it decided to hold the protest. Veteran Ram Singh said the government was acting in a "discriminatory manner" with regard to paramilitary personnel and they will agitate in all those states which will go to polls.
"The country cannot sleep peacefully even for a day without the paramilitary forces. There is no proper rehabilitation ensured for these forces. We need the support of the government and public in bettering the lives of these men and women who are on job round-the-clock in hard working conditions," Nair said quoting a statement.
He said that the defence and paramilitary forces should be kept on equal footing while granting service benefits.
The association claims to have support of state chapters in this regard and had met senior government leaders in connection with its demands.
The agitators also demanded that benefits of healthcare and canteen facilities should be extended to the families of both the serving and retired personnel.
There are about nine lakh personnel serving in these forces working under the Union Home Ministry while there are an equal number of retired personnel and their families in the country.