Ex-servicemen organisations have decided to show black flags to the Defence Minister, Manohar Parikkar, when he comes to Mohali on July 12 and boycott the Punjab government function he is coming to attend.
Revealing this here on Monday, Lt Col SS Sohi (retd), President of Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, said that the defence minister will be in Mohali to inaugurate Punjab government’s Armed Forces Preparatory Academy for Girls and that this was the right opportunity for the ex-servicemen to register their protest for non-implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP).
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“We have also decided to boycott the function of the Punjab government because we do not wish to be part of any function which has the government backing till the issue of OROP is resolved,” said Lt Col Sohi.
Meanwhile ex-servicemen organisations in Punjab are also planning demonstrations at various locations across the state. One such rally is being organised on July 8 by Indian Ex-Services League (IESL) in Bathinda. Several such rallies are planned near military station in the state in order to show solidarity with the ex-servicemen who are sitting on relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Brig Inder Mohan Singh, President of IESL’s Punjab chapter said that it has been decided that there is no use of holding protests outside the office of Deputy Commissioner etc as these very officers are stumbling blocks for OROP when they go to Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance.
“We have decided to hold demonstrations near cantonments and military stations. In Bathinda we will assemble outside Sub Area headquarters and we will walk towards the Corps headquarters entrance gate holding banners,” said Brig Singh. After Bathinda, the ex-servicemen plan to hold a rally in Amritsar where the local MP, Capt Amarinder Singh may also participate in it.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Indian Ex-Services Movement (IESM), Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd), has said that while the spirit among the ex-servicemen is praiseworthy, the kind of strong language used at public meetings and contemplated action is scary. In an e-mail to ex-servicemen, Lt Gen Kadyan said that at one rally which he attended in Bhiwani recently several speakers made personal remarks against political leaders and talked of stopping trains, disrupting the Parliament from functioning etc. He added that “a lot of venom was being poured through emails and the social media is greatly fuelling the anger” adding that the overall scenario is not in national interest.
“We need to consider if we are heading in the right direction. Those of us that have been actively involved in the OROP movement did not surely intend taking this route. We need to calm things down. The officers bear a special responsibility. We have to make others understand the larger implications of adopting an unlawful approach. There is also a real fear that we would make our own task of resolving several other welfare problems more difficult and may lose the current level of public support if we take missteps,” said Lt Gen Kadyan.