Two ex-servicemen have gone on a hunger strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not announce the implementation of One-Rank One Pension (OROP). Both veterans in their 60s say they will not relent till the government implements the OROP.
Havildar Major Singh
Singh is from Punjab’s Barnala district and served in the army for 20 years. He retired from service in September 1991. He was part of the Sikh regiment and had joined the army when he was just 16 years old.
“When I was studying in class 5, I had run away from home and gone to Meerut so that I could join the army. Then I was very young but as soon I finished class 8, I joined the army,” said 60-year-old Singh.
Inspired by his uncle to join the army, he is the eldest in the family and unmarried. During his stint with the army he used to carry food on his head to the men on the border.
He now gets Rs 5,500 as pension but the people in the same rank who have retired now get Rs 8,000. “We are just asking what is our right. But until and unless the government does not implement OROP, I will not budge from here. More than anything I will die, my mother will cry a little but at least government will wake up,” said Singh.
Colonel Pushpender Singh
Singh is 63 years old and from Rohtak in Haryana. He belongs to the Indian Army Grenadier’s Regiment and served in the army for over 24 years.
“As my birthday is on October 16, I retired that day as I had thought I would like to hang my uniform on that day,” said Singh who now lives in Greater Noida.
Having served on the Jammu and Kashmir border, China border, Singh largely spent his time in Central Intelligence Agency operations, which he describes as more tough than fighting on the border.
His entire family is part of the armed forces. His two daughters are happily married and also have grandchildren.
“My family is very supportive of me staying on hunger strike. My grandchild called me today and said that she was proud of me,” said Singh.
Earning a pension of Rs 55,000 once the OROP is implemented he is likely to get Rs 65,000. “We are just feeling betrayed with the way the government has been treating us. We gave our adulthood to the nation and see how we are being treated,” said Singh.