BJP ally Shiv Sena bats for OROP, urges Centre to take swift action

Mumbai: Urging the Centre to act swiftly on the issue of One Rank One Pension, the Shiv Sena on Monday said the way ex-servicemen demanding OROP were treated while protesting in Delhi on the eve of Independence Day was “shameful” and “disturbing.”

“The action of Delhi police seemed to suggest that they would be ready to even kick the ex-servicemen if they did not go away from the protest site. This incident, on the eve of Independence Day, was shameful and disturbing,” the Sena, which is an alliance partner in the BJP led Maharashtra government, said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

Justifying the OROP demand, it said, “If rank is similar, pension should be the same as well. This is nature’s law. But these people had to fight their own government to get justice. This demand is continuing from many years and it is also justified.”

The MPs, MLAs and government servants manage to get their salaries increased, but the government, instead of considering the demands of ex-servicemen who face bullets in extreme weather conditions, is being evasive on the issue, the Sena said.

It further said that it is the Modi government’s responsibility to ensure that injustice being meted out to ex-servicemen stops.

“After being chosen as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi had on September 15, 2013, while addressing ex-servicemen in Rewari, promised that his government would implement OROP. It has been one-and-a-half year since then. The Centre should take immediate steps on the issue,” it said.

The Narendra Modi government has been maintaining that it is committed to OROP, a key promise made during Lok Sabha polls. A group of ex-servicemen have been on a protest at Jantar Mantar for two months demanding early implementation of OROP. On August 14, Delhi Police tried to evict them on the grounds of security ahead of Independence Day celebrations. However, later, Police Commissioner B S Bassi said they were allowed to continue with the protest.

The move by authorities was widely criticised after the ex-servicemen refused to go away and alleged that the policemen manhandled those protesting quietly.

Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.