Ex-servicemen celebrate IAF anniversary; OROP protest to continue

New Delhi: Continuing their demand for One Rank One Pension (OROP), ex-servicemen on Thursday boycotted the official function of the 83rd anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and celebrated it at the Jantar Mantar protest site. Many wing commanders and veterans of the IAF marked the anniversary.

“The Indian Air Force played an important role in the 1965 war between India and Pakistan.

We proudly celebrate the birth of the IAF,” said Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who has been leading the protest of ex-servicemen for 116 days now. “We will not end our protest till all our demands are met. We want original OROP to be implemented not the one that is altered,” he said.

The veterans also unfurled the tricolour and sang the national anthem. A group of students from Venkateshwar College performed and recited patriotic songs and poems.

Wing Commander V.K. Sharma (retd) said: “All servicemen of the country have played their roles in protecting the nation and the government should not delay further in meeting their demands.” Archana Kapoor, the first woman Indian Air Force pilot, said: “To serve the nation has been our first priority till now, but the government seems to pay no respect to the veterans.”

“Their demands are genuine and should be met as soon as possible.” On the recruitment of women pilots for jet fighters, Kapoor told IANS: “This should have been done much before.”

“When I was in the Air Force, there was no scope of flying a jet fighter for females, but now I am proud that it will soon be a reality. This will boost the confidence of many women across the nation,” she said. “There is nothing which is out of the capacity of women in this era.”