New Delhi: Days after Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) for retired military personnel will be implemented after the Bihar elections, Armed forces veterans staging a protest here to press their demand for the scheme on Friday announced that they will return their medals across the country on November 9-10.
“We have unanimously decided to return our medals across India,” said Group Captain V K Gandhi, the general secretary of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.
On 145th day of the protest at Jantar Mantar here and across the country, the armed forces veterans also decided to escalate, upgrade and intensify their agitation.
“The government is willing to provide us an OROP, which is full of discrepancies and is not as per its definition. To protest, all ex-servicemen with their medals will line up in discipline and dignified manner in each district across the nation on November 9-10,” Gandhi told reporters here.
“The district magistrate will collect the medals and if he doesn’t come to collect it, the medals will be left behind. The DMs will be requested to guard their medals. We would request them to send these medals either to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or to President Pranab Mukherjee,” he added.
On October 12 the Defence Minister said that contentious issues including those related to premature retirement had been resolved, conceding that the inclusion of the phrase Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) in the declaration announced by his ministry in September had triggered confusion.
“I think I will have to wait up for the Bihar elections. Because the Election Commission is in no mood to give permission to actually issue the order. This is my understanding. I will not like to be in part of controversy,” Parrikar said during a public interaction near Panaji.
“The notification will be issued after Bihar election because I do not want to get notice by Election Commission,” he said.
Parrikar clarified that “those who get premature retirement will get OROP even in future”.
“That confusion started because the word VRS was a part of the declaration. The interpretation got slightly mixed up. It was not (done) intentionally,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)