The ongoing agitation over the demand for One Rank-One Pension (OROP) dampened the golden jubilee celebrations of the 1965 India-Pakistan war, with veterans staying away from official functions after talks with government failed to break the deadlock. President Pranab Mukherjee kicked off the commemoration of the war by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to honour the memory of martyrs. Several events have been planned over the next three weeks.
Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who heads the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, said, “Whatever they have finally offered is not acceptable to us as it is nowhere close to the definition of OROP that had been accepted by Parliament.” Talks held with top PMO officials this week, in the presence of army chief General Dalbir Singh, have proved to be inconclusive.
Protesting veterans say they will boycott 1965 war events
A major sticking point in the protracted negotiations remains whether pensions will be hiked annually as demanded by the veterans or after a gap of five years as suggested by the government.
Several 1965 war veterans boycotted the official function at India Gate, choosing to protest at Jantar Mantar.
— Ketki Angre (@ketkiangre) August 28, 2015
PM Narendra Modi lauded the contribution of the soldiers who fought in the war. He tweeted, "As we mark the 50th anniversary of 1965 war, I bow to all brave soldiers who fought for our Motherland in the war."
Meanwhile, Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday met a delegation of ex-servicemen and assured them the government will soon take necessary action on their demand for One Rank One Pension (OROP). The delegation gave a detailed presentation to the home minister on various aspects of OROP and apprised him that the demand of the former soldiers was justified. Singh gave them a patience hearing and assured them that necessary action would be taken by the government, sources said. Singh said the government has in principle accepted their demand and the work is on to find out a solution but it required some time.