While ex-servicemen from Punjab along with their counterparts from across the country are all set to raise the demand of one rank, one pension (OROP), an association in Ludhiana has distanced itself from the agitation stating this is not a course that an army man should follow to achieve their demands.
The association- Ex-Servicemen Thinkers Forum- is the one that has decided not to take part in the agitation that would be held by the former army personnel not only in New Delhi but across the country.
On the other hand, Indian Ex Services League is all set to take at least 8,000 ex-servicemen to New Delhi to hold protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.
Retired Col K Christopher, the president of Ex-Servicemen Thinkers Forum, said the forum is strongly against the agitation approach and boycotting any functions of the state by army men. "This is against the ethos of military and norms of services. Moreover, the ex-servicemen and serving army personnel have a very close bond and this approach could have an adverse impact on serving army personnel,"said Christopher.
He said there is a delay in implementation of one rank, one pension due to lack of funds with the government and an idea of three installments including the first to jawans then to the junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and lastly to the officer was also proposed to the central government.
"But it seems that bureaucracy is putting hindrance in the way of implementation of the same,"said Christopher.
He also raised another issue of paramilitary forces that are also demanding one rank, one pension for them. "I want to clarify that there are only two paramilitary forces in India- Assam Rifles and Rashtriya Rifles. The police, Border Security Force (BSF) and others are central police organisation and are masquerading as paramilitary just to demand one rank, one pension,"said Christopher.
However, reluctance of the Ex-Servicemen Thinkers Forum to take part in the agitation has caused a controversy and other associations have also launched an attack on the forum. Indian Ex-Services League said that the agitation was the only way to keep the views of retired army personnel in front of the BJP-led central government that had made tall promises before the elections but was now shying away from the real issue.
Col (retd) Bhaag Singh, the patron of the association for Punjab and Chandigarh, said that former army personnel deserve their due credit. "The central government is cheating by not giving the due credit to the armed forces. Before the elections, the promise of one rank, one pension was made but now nothing is being done,"said Singh. He said that even as parliament has passed the implementation orders for OROP in 2014, the government is not adhering to it.