New Delhi: Split in the veterans group holding protest at Jantar Mantar came out in open on Wednesday, a faction saying it did not want to hold any more protests till government issues an order on One Rank One Pension. This comes just two days ahead of a rally planned by the veterans.
On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Balbir Singh, a key member of the front that was formed to hold agitation demanding OROP, announced the exit of his group Indian Ex-Services League from the front. Later, a statement from a group called "Exservicemen Joint Action Front Sanjha Morcha" said a meeting was held on Wednesday evening and the United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has been "reconvened".
It also said they have decided not to hold any protest rallies till government releases an order on OROP. Atul Dubey, one of the spokespersons for the front, however, told IANS that the statement was not official. Col. Anil Kaul, a key member of the front had said in the evening that the protest rally scheduled for Sepetember 12 is to be held as scheduled. "The Sainik Ekta Rally on September 12, 2015 will be held as planned from Jantar Mantar," Col. Kaul said.
Ex-servicemen during their hunger strike in New Delhi a few days back. Pic/ PTI
"During the rally, suitable commendations will be made to those who assisted in ensuring the agitation did bring some results... not all of them on expected lines though," the statement added. In a clear contradiction, a statement sent by the faction "Exservicemen Joint Action Front Sanjha Morcha" said: "It was unanimously decided by all representatives of the constituent organisations that UFESM should refrain from any further protest rallies and anti government demonstrations until the final executive orders are issued by the government."
On Wednesday evening, Lt. Gen. Balbir Singh, who played an active role in negotiations with the government, said: "We have left the UFESM". Asked for the reason for leaving the group, the veteran said: "There was a meeting today, and the group was reconstituted. We are out of it now." "The agitation is for OROP, that has been granted... There are some more anomalies, we will keep protesting for removing those. We will present our views to the one member committee," he told IANS.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday had announced OROP for the veterans. The scheme announced by the government will take 2013 as the base year to calculate pensions and date of implementation will be 1st July, 2014. The period for review was five years, something that has been a major sticking point.