OROP stir: Another veteran’s health deteriorates

New Delhi: Col. Pushpender Singh (retd), who was hospitalized after fasting for nine days over non-implementation of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP), stabilized on Tuesday but the health of two other veterans deteriorated. The health of retired havildars Major Singh and Ashok Chauhan worsened on Tuesday. Col. Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral Hospital after his health deteriorated on Monday. “He is stable now and recovering”.

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Col. Anil Kaul (retd), spokesperson for the ex-servicemen front, said the veteran has refused to break his fast. On Tuesday, Havildar Ashok Chauhan (retd), who is on fast since last Tuesday, had to be evacuated from the protest venue on Tuesday after he suffered muscle atrophy. Havildar Major Singh (retd), who has been fasting since last Monday, refused to leave the venue despite his deteriorating health and even refused to take water.
Sources, meanwhile, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue on Tuesday. The veterans also had a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the three service chiefs, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Army chief General Dalbir Singh and Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan late on Monday night.

The veterans are hopeful of a meeting with the prime minister on Wednesday, even as speculation is rife that an announcement may come on August 28, the anniversary of the 1965 war. Tuesday was the 72nd day of the protest and relay hunger strike. There are around 24 lakh retired servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who will benefit if OROP is implemented.