Ex-servicemen protest outside Jaitley’s house; vow to continue

Ex-servicemen protest outside Jaitley’s house; vow to continue

New Delhi: Ex-servicemen seeking changes in Government’s One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme today staged a protest outside Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s residence and vowed to continue it there, alleging that he failed to respond to concerns raised by them during an earlier meeting.

This is the second time in two weeks that the veterans have staged demonstrations outside the minister’s official residence.

Shifting the venue of the protest from the Jantar Mantar, the veterans said, “since no response has come from the government side therefore the ‘sainiks’ have decided to continue the agitation in front of FM’s residence and rough out in the chilly nights of January on the road.

“We will continue to stage our agitation at the present site instead of Jantar Mantar till our demands are met.”

They said that it is very sad to note that neither any member of the present government nor any officials have tried to break the impasse when the ‘sainiks’ are willing to walk a mile to defuse the situation.

“It will be ensured while carrying on the agitation here that no one is inconvenienced. However, we wish the government also realises that the ‘sainiks’ have been inconvenienced for more than the last seven months with no faults of theirs and their patience is running out. The government will be responsible for any negative fall out,” they said in a statement.

Group Captain (retd) VK Gandhi said, “we had staged protest outside the minister’s residence on January 3. At that time, he had assured us he will speak to Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar) over our demands.

“He had said he would get back to us within a week. But it’s two weeks now that he has not responded. What kind of Finance Minister he is if he can not keep his word?”.

Gandhi, general secretary of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, said the veterans will continue with their protest until Jaitley or Parrikar holds parleys with them.

“Either of the ministers will have to come and speak to us. We will not move an inch from here until then. If they don’t want to give us actual OROP, they should clarify so to us. Why lie?” he said, reiterating that the government notification has “flaws” and was “unacceptable”.

Around 200 ex-servicemen including Major General Satbir Singh, who has been spearheading the protest, have been demonstrating outside Jaitley’s residence, Gandhi added.