As the relay hunger strike by former defence personnel at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to demand the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme entered its second week on Monday, the dwindling number of officers participating in the strike seemed to be a serious cause of concern.
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While over 44 jawans were present at the venue on Day 8 of the strike, only two officers — Group Captain Kataria and Captain Swaran Singh from Jammu — were there to take part in the protest.
A quick look at a register, with details of the attendees, reveals that while the number of jawans and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) participating in the strike is between 35 and 40, with the exception of one day, the protest had never been attended by more than 10 officers.
The register is maintained by Prakash Bhame, a retired JCO who, along with six others, mans the venue round-the-clock.
The best turnout so far was witnessed on Sunday when as many as 13 former officers — including three lieutenant colonels, eight captains and two colonels — participated in the strike.
The lukewarm response by officers may be a cause of concern as the ex-servicemen community is now planning to intensify its stir against the Central government.
While the protesters have already boycotted the public functions organised by the Central government, including World Yoga Day on Sunday, they also plan to target BJP ahead of the Bihar assembly election, according to Group Captain (retired) V K Gandhi, general secretary, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.