Former Army chief and Union Minister Gen (Retd) VK Singh has been appointed as a mediator between government and protesting ex-servicemen over ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme, the agitators said today as they decided to hold an ‘Aakrosh’ rally at Jantar Mantar on December 13.
As their protest entered 168th today, the war veterans are also contemplating on whether to exercise legal option to fight the government on the OROP issue. The protesting veterans claimed that they met with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last night and together they have decided to appoint Gen (Retd) V K Singh as a mediator. Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, has been involved in back-channel negotiations on the contentious issue earlier also.
“The satyagrah has been confronted with two major challenges. These are in the form of, firstly the government notification of November 8 on OROP, and secondly the effect of the recommendations of the 7CPC (Central Pay Commission) if accepted in toto by the government,” the protesting veterans said in a statement. Our focus and aim remains on the implementation of the OROP award without dilution and to that extent we will continue to engage with the GoI for justice, they said.
The statement added that while they appreciate the overcoming of the huddle of acceptance of OROP by the government of the day, the final thanksgiving will have to wait till the same hurdle is cleared in a clean jump rather than the “present pitfalls of a combine of created problems -referral to judicial commission – time delays- killing the very soul of OROP”. It added that a rally would be held on December 13. A press conference is also likely to be held on December 7 which could have former BJP leader and senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani coming out in their support.