Thousands of gallantry medals may be returned to the government soon, if veterans who have been protesting the delay in the implementation of the one rank one pension policy have their way.
Ex-servicemen, who have been on a relay hunger strike since June at Jantar Mantar, will be asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet them and take back 10,000 medals as a mark of protest. Though the government announced on September 5 that OROP would be implemented, the protesting veterans said there were seven major flaws in the plan.
Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh, who has been leading the agitation as an adviser to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said on Tuesday that they would be writing to the Prime Minister seeking appointment.
“Over the past year, 10,000 medals have been sent or given to us by ex-servicemen across India. We will be asking the Prime Minister for time so that we can return the medals to him. The apathy of the government has left us with no other choice,” said Maj. Gen. Singh.
He said that in the past disgruntled ex-soldiers had returned their medals to the President, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
“But, this time we want to give the medals to the Prime Minister, as it was he who promised during the election campaign that we would get OROP. Returning the medals will send a message to the entire country that assurances given have not been fulfilled,” said Maj. Gen. Singh.
The veterans said the government had not issued the notification to implement OROP, which it said would do so within a month of the announcement on September 5.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is grappling with a face-off between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Army.
The Army has objected to the government’s plan to build a raised embankment along the 179-km stretch of the international border (IB) in Jammu district, a senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu.
The plan for the embankment (better known as ditch-cum-bund) was cleared in 2013 by the then UPA government after the twin terror attacks in the Hiranagar/Samba sector the same year. Around 20 per cent land has been acquired for the project, being implemented by the MHA. The raised embankment will be constructed under the supervision of the Border Security Force (BSF).
At a recent meeting between Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Mr. Doval, the government has been asked to rethink the entire project.
“The Army believes that in case of an emergency, this embankment will affect their operations and restrict their forward movement. The Army already mans another embankment, a few kilometres behind the IB,” said a senior MHA official.
Another official said the BSF has also been asked to submit a detailed report on why the project should go ahead.
A final decision will be taken by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the proposal is pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The proposed embankment will be 41 metres wide and 10 metres high and will accommodate bunkers and border outposts. The project would cover 118 villages in the three districts of Kathua, Samba and Jammu, which are located along the international border.
On MHA’s request, the Jammu and Kashmir government initiated the land acquisition process in Jammu district.
The Jammu sector has witnessed 589 ceasefire violations from Pakistan’s side since May 2014, when the NDA government came to power, till August 20 this year. The same period saw 95 infiltration attempts from the Jammu border.
This is the same project over which Pakistan complained to the U.N. Security Council a few days ago. Pakistan’s Ambassador to U.N., Maleeha Lodhi, in a letter to the President of the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, alleged that India was planning to construct a “wall” along the border, which it called a working boundary to convert it “into a quasi international border”.
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New Delhi, Sep 5 (PTI) Ex-servicemen, pressing for ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) for nearly four decades, today won a partial victory with the government announcing that it would implement it, but the veterans rejected the decision and decided to continue their agitation. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here that OROP, that implies uniform […]
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