Ignored for 61 days and now manhandled, the ex-servicemen who had been demanding implementation of a One-Rank One Pension (OROP) rule on Friday said that they had been betrayed.
Recounting the several times Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that OROP would be implemented as soon as he would come to power, the veterans said he had betrayed them.
The ex-servicemen said they would not budge from Jantar Mantar until an announcement was made to this effect.
“It is really sad to see how the armed forces personnel are being treated. Countries like Pakistan and China treat their soldiers better,” said wing commander (retd) BS Bakshi.
Attempts were made on Friday to forcibly remove them from Jantar Mantar. The oldest of the lot, Grenadier Bhishambar, while trying to resist eviction had his kurta torn and was hurt."Now more than being about the OROP it has also become a matter of our respect. We gave our adulthood to the country and now see the way they are treating us. We are just putting a demand that is rightfully ours," said brigadier Subhash Sharma.
Undeterred by the police action, the ex-servicemen said their protest would continue and spread to all parts of the country till OROP was implemented.
Shouting slogans like “The nation whose soldiers are in the street will be doomed” (Jish Desh ki Sainik Sarko Par, ush desh ka Durbhag hai) and tying black bands in their hand, the protesters said that if the government cannot respect their demand it should also not come with garlands when soldiers die on the border.
“Forget about all other things they are not even obeying Supreme Court orders. The court had ordered them to implement OROP in three months and it’s been five months they are trying to kill the issue,” said Navy’s chief petty officer (retd) Ajay Saraswat.
They were even joined by the women officers and the ex-servicemen’s family members.
“Whatever has happened is very shameful and sad. The leaders should know if they don’t keep soldiers happy the country will never prosper,” said Neeta Ravikant, wife of a retired officer.