In protest against the recently notified ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) scheme that they find “diluted”, ex-servicemen have prepared to return their war medals on Tuesday across the state.
The veterans said they would observe Black Diwali and, in case the authorities didn’t come to accept the awards back, they would abandon these medals to the care of the district administrations. “More than 100 ex-servicemen from Jalandhar will return their war medals to the Union government through the deputy commissioner,” said Jalandhar district ex-servicemen association president Col Balbir Singh (retd), adding: “We hold the medals dear as our children, since they remind us of our contribution to the country, but we have no option but to return these, since the Centre has implemented a diluted version of the OROP scheme.”
The war medals are being returned on the call of veterans such as major general Satbir Singh (retd), chairman of the United Ex-Servicemen Front of India (UESFI). Ex-servicemen have accused the Centre of leaving flaws in the scheme to create a rift between the serving and retired soldiers.
“The government has not accepted out demand for an annual equalization of revised pension, for pegging it to the maximum of current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving and retired military personnel on it,” said Col Balbir Singh. The veterans disagreed with the government’s decision to revise the pension after five years instead of annually.
In Amritsar and various other districts as well, the medals would be returned on Tuesday, and in a few districts, including Hoshiarpur, it will be done after Diwali, the colonel has said.