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Rediff.com  » News » 'Behaviour of protesting war veterans unlike that of a soldier,' says Parrikar

'Behaviour of protesting war veterans unlike that of a soldier,' says Parrikar

November 10, 2015 18:08 IST

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the behaviour of war veterans protesting the notification on OROP scheme is "unlike that of a soldier" and they have been misguided even as he asked them not to link their decision to return medals to a financial demand.

He said he was "pained" to see such tactics being used.

"Medals are given by the country for the service and gallantry acts that the soldiers have rendered. A section insisting on returning the medals because one is not happy with certain clauses of OROP, for which the government is paying over Rs 8,000 crore, is demeaning the medal itself," Parrikar told PTI.

While noting that democracy gives everyone the right to protest, he urged the veterans not to return their medals which have been bestowed upon them by the country.

"These acts are not in line with the army discipline. It is hurting the basic ethos of the army," Parrikar said in Vasco Da Gama.

He termed the one rank, one pension decision as his biggest achievement in the last one year and said it was the BJP government that had finalised the measure.

People who are still protesting seems to have been misguided, the minister said.

"This government and I have worked very hard to fulfil the promise of OROP which no other government fulfilled over the past 40 years. 95 per cent of the veterans' community is satisfied.

"If some still have any grievances, they can present their case to the judicial committee that will be set up," he said.

Defending the government's decision to revise pension every five years, Parrikar said it was taken because of administrative requirement.

"There is a huge process that is involved. The protesting veterans had offered revision every two years. So if they term our scheme as one rank, five pension, their's would be one rank, two pension," he said.

He maintained that major demands of the veterans have been met and OROP has been finalised.

He had yesterday said that everyone has a right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled.

The government had on Saturday formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country.

The notification is more or less in line with what Parrikar had announced on September 5.

However, it has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who had sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP.

But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits. "It will be effective prospectively," according to the notification.

The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.

Ex-servicemen, who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, have rejected the notification.

Hitting back at Parrikar for his comment that not all their demands can be met, Indian Ex-servicemen Movement had said yesterday that the war veterans would be returning their medals to protest the government notification on OROP scheme.

"We have one and only demand and that is OROP. It was the government which inserted provisions that has made the issue complicated. We want OROP as per the definition. No junior should get more pension than his senior.

"In protest against the government notification, we will start returning our medals. On November 10-11, ex-servicemen across the country will start returning their medals. They have already informed the District Magistrates about this," Group Captain V K Gandhi (retd), General Secretary of IESM had said.

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