Ex-servicemen start returning medals, protest OROP notification

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Ex-servicemen will return their medals on 10 November, to protest against the Union government’s notification on the OROP’s implementation, even as they flayed defence minister Manohar Parrikar for saying that not all their demands can be met.

The government had, on 7 November, notified the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for more than 24 lakh ex-servicemen and as many as six lakh war widows. This was rejected vehemently by the ex-servicemen.

In protest, “ex-servicemen will start returning their medals between 10 and 11 November. They have already informed the district magistrates in this connection”, said group captain VK Gandhi (retd), general secretary of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM).

“We want OROP as per the definition. It is the government who has brought in various provisions that has made the issue complicated. How can a junior get more pension than his senior?” he asked.

Earlier, the defence minister said everyone has the right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled. Most demands have been fulfilled and the judicial commission to be set up by the government will look into other issues, he added.

In Delhi, the medals were returned outside Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport on 9 November, Gandhi said, adding that, selecting crowded places for the protest, was meant to make the common man aware of the issue. He said that, the ex-servicemen would observe a Black Diwali in case the authorities didn’t come to accept the awards back.

Meanwhile, the ex-servicemen also met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. “He called us today and asked us to brief him about the notification. He has said he will take up the issue, address a press conference and also visit the ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar,” said Gandhi.

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