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One Rank One Pension – Veterans Group Splits – key Faction Dissociates

One Rank One Pension – The Planned Rally receives a jolt with the Indian Ex-Servicemen League withdrawing from the league citing, ‘The movement is no longer cohesive’.

Just three days ahead of the planned rally, the umbrella organisation leading the agitation for ‘One Rank  One Pension (OROP) split yesterday, with a key faction dissociating itself from the grouping, citing “lack of cohesiveness” and suggesting politicisation of the movement.

Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, President of Indian Ex-Servicemen League had this to say, “We have informed the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM) about our decision to withdraw from the grouping. The movement is no longer cohesive.”

Mr.Singh, who was one of the key negotiators from the veterans’ side in talks with the government over OROP, said he was against the rally being organised on Saturday at Jantar Mantar. He claimed that his group has about 4.5 lakh members and none from his side would be participating in the rally. Altogether, there are around 26 lakh ex-servicemen.

He said constitution of his organisation maintains that its activities will not be politically motivated, and he was against the rally planned by UFESM in the poll bound Bihar, though the dates of which of have not been finalised yet.

however, Col (Retd) Anil Kaul, the media advisor to UFESM , had this to say, “It is an attempt by the government to break us. We will not be deterred and the rally will go on as planned. ”

As we know, the 42 year long struggle for One Rank One Pension, came to an end last week with the Government accepting to grant the demand. However, there are still some differences between the Government and the Veterans, which has prompted the Veterans to continue their agitation, though they have called off their hunger strike.

The main concern of the protesting veterans relates to extension of benefits to premature retirees, annual revision of pensions as against the five-yearly review granted by the government and the method of re-calculation.  Another point that Maj Gen (Retd) Balbir is objecting is the governments decision to set up a single member judicial committee to look into various aspects of OROP. This committee is expected to table the report in six months, But the the veterans demand is for a five-member panel with a one month deadline for submission of report.

Source : The Economic Times

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