Disgruntled ex-servicemen boycott 1965 celebrations over OROP

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Ex-servicemen are boycotting celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s success in 1965 Indo-Pak war, with talks on One Rank One Pension (OROP) breaking down on 27 August.

The celebrations of India’s success against Pakistan in 1965 war will begin with a function on 28 August to mark India’s capture of Haji Pir Pass in August 28, 1965. President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, paid tribute to fallen soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial at India Gate in central Delhi.

Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh met representatives of the veterans at his South Block office on 27 August, but there was “no forward movement”, they later said.

Last night, a group of ex-servicemen walked out of a meeting that they had hoped would bring a breakthrough on their demand of two decades. They said they could not accept the government’s new proposals on OROP.

Wing commander (Retd) KS Parihar, who was part of the team that won Haji Pir exactly years ago, said, “If it doesn’t come through tomorrow, I will not celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indo-Pak war and instead strike for OROP.”

“We deserve a better deal. The government should go ahead and announce it which will enable me to take part in the celebration,” said Wing Commander (retd) Vinod Nebb, who was awarded the Vir Chakra for bringing down a Pakistani Sabre aircraft in 1965 operations.

It may be noted OROP will give equal pension to servicemen retiring with the same rank regardless of when they retire.

Meanwhile, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make an announcement “as and when the time comes”.

The government is said to be upset that more and more veterans are joining the hunger strike at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, which began after PM Modi failed to announce OROP in his Independence Day speech on August 15.

 

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