New Delhi: Ex-servicemen protesting over their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) have written to President Pranab Mukherjee, saying some veterans were developing medical complications due to their indefinite hunger strike which entered the 14th day, and the government will be responsible for any untoward incident.
“This is the 14th day of the indefinite hunger strike and some veterans on hunger strike are developing some medical complications. If any untoward incident happens, the government of India will be responsible for the same because they are unnecessarily delaying the final decision on the OROP,” a release by the ex-servicemen front said on Saturday.
Copies of the letter have been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh.
The protest by agitating veterans entered the 76th day on Saturday. The release said 35 ex-servicemen sat on a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.
It said Havildar Abhilash Singh, who was on relay hunger strike, was taken to the Army Research and Referral Hospital due to some medical complications.
Four ex-servicemen have earlier been taken to the hospital.
The release said the indefinite strike by Col. Pushpender Singh and Havildar Major Singh entered the 14th day on Saturday, while that by Havildar Ashok Kumar Chauhan entered the 12th day.
Four more soldiers and the father of martyred soldier Sunil Kumar Yadav were also sitting on an indefinite fast, the release added.
Following a meeting with the home minister on Friday, Major General Satbir Singh (retd), chairman of the United Forum of Ex-Servicemen, said talks had met a dead end as the government did not agree to budge from its position on revising pension every five years.
The defence force retirees also wanted an annual increment of three percent.
The OROP would give equal pension to servicemen retiring with the same rank regardless of when they retire.
There are around 24 lakh ex-servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who will benefit if OROP is implemented.