'Black Diwali' for defence veterans as they return medals over OROP issue
The ex-servicemen have rejected the Centre's notification on the implementation of One Rank, One Pension.
Chandigarh: Defence veterans returned their war and other medals at various places in Haryana and Punjab on Tuesday to register their protest against the Centre's "diluted" notification of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
In Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, the veterans returned their medals to the Panchkula deputy commissioner to protest against the OROP notification issued by the central government.
There were reports of veterans returning their medals in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala in Punjab and Rohtak, Hisar and Ambala in Haryana.
The defence veterans said that they will observe a 'Black Diwali' this time to protest against the Modi government going back on its assurances.
"The notification that the government has issued completely murders the definition of OROP. In OROP's definition, a senior will never get less pension than a junior. In the government's notification, a senior got less pension than a junior. We reject this completely," Group Captain VK Gandhi (retd), general secretary of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement ( IESM) told ANI.
"Mahatma Gandhi had started the 'Quit India' movement in 1942 and awaken the nation. We will take that example and awaken the nation and the ex-servicemen and request them to return their medals and explain to citizens that OROP has not been given to us," he added.
Gandhi said the medals will be returned outside Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport ( IGIA) today to educate the common man about the impending issue.
Commenting on Defence Minister, he said, "Manohar Parrikar is speaking like this under the pressure of some bureaucrats. Our only demand is One Rank One Pension. Our request to Manohar Parrikar, Modi ji and Jaitley is to fulfil our demand, and no condition should be imposed on it."
The protesting ex-servicemen had also met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and briefed him about the OROP notification.
Rejecting objections against the One Rank, One Pension scheme by some army veterans, Parrikar had yesterday said that it is impossible to satisfy everyone.
"We have fulfilled the main one rank one pension demand including the Voluntary Retirement Scheme. This is a democracy and one has the right to put forth their demand, but they can't expect it to be fulfilled every time. You fulfil one demand and another one springs up," Parrikar told reporters.
Veterans have listed seven deviations in the announcement, including annual equalisation, 2013-2014 financial year as the base year for calculating pension, taking the highest pension scale of 2013 as the base for calculation and not the average as announced by the government, not to link OROP with the seventh pay commission and accept that OROP once implemented continue forever and in perpetuity.