Ex-servicemen had announced they will agitate to get ‘one rank, one pension’ implemented and hold a major rally in poll-bound Bihar.
“Our agitation will be spread to 640 districts across the country. It would be peaceful,” said Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) and stressed the agitation is a danger to the serving soldiers’ morale.
The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has given the government a seven-day notice before they intensify the agitation.
A statement, claiming the support of 40 organisations, said several missives, requests and appeals, some even signed in blood, sent to the President during the past seven years have remained unacknowledged.
To convey the message of a “broken promise”, the UFESM plans to hold a Maha Sangram Rally in Patna in August. “Since returning of medals earned by the veterans was not enough to convince the government to take action, they now plan to celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas in their own way,” it added.
Apart from boycotting government organised functions, the UFESM will take steps to assuage the hurt of 26 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh widows affected by the government’s lie.
Close to 26 lakh ex-servicemen and more than six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, envisaging a uniform pension to the defence personnel.
At present, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations. To cite an example, a major general who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a lieutenant colonel who retired after 1996.