New Delhi: Angry over the delay in implementation of 'One Rank One Pension' scheme, hundreds of ex-servicemen began relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here on Monday. Raising slogans like "One Rank, One Pension", "No delay no dilution" and "Sainik ekta zindabad", the protesters began an indefinite relay hunger strike here.
Different batches of 50-55 ex-servicemen will sit on a 24-hour hunger strike everyday till a specific date for implementing the OROP scheme is not announced, said media reports.
"We won't budge until the government gives us a date for implementing 'One Rank, One Pension'," Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), president of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement which is spearheading the protests, told IANS.
On Sunday, hundreds of ex-servicemen had protested against the delay in implementation of the OROP policy.
The protest was organised by IESM. The IESM had warned last week that if their demands were not met, they would agitate and go on a hunger strike.
In an extreme step taken to ratchet up the pressure on the government, the ex-servicemen reportedly signed a 'petition in blood' and announced to hand it over to President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi.
The protests comes after talks - both formal and back-channel - with the government failed as the ex-servicemen were not given a specific timeline for the implementation of the long-pending OROP.
In Jaipur, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday sought to assuage their concerns, saying the promises made will be kept and that they should be "patient".
"I assure you whatever we have promised that all would be done... But some people need to be patient," Parrikar said addressing a conference on challenges and solutions regarding border safety.
PM Modi, while addressing the nation in his eighth edition of the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme, had assured ex-servicemen that his government would soon resolve the OROP issue.
The OROP scheme has been a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen's associations and relates to payment of uniform pension to defence forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
OROP policy is expected to benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen and widows of defence personnel.