Having failed to get their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’ implemented despite 30 days of agitation, the ex-servicemen community on Tuesday announced that they will “regretfully heighten” their agitation and hold a major rally in poll-bound Bihar next month.
The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has given the government a seven-day notice before they intensify the ongoing agitation. “Our agitation will be spread to 640 districts of the country. It would be peaceful since we are protectors of the country and there would not be any nuisance for the public,” Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) told reporters here and stressed that the ongoing agiation is also a danger to the morale of serving soldiers.
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A statement release by the group, which claims support of 40 organisations, said that several missives, requests and appeals, some even signed in blood, to the Presdient who is the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, over the last seven years remain unanswered and unacknowledged to this day.
“Since the returning of gallantry medals earned by these veterans was not enough to convince the government to take action, they now plan on celebrating Kargil Vijay Diwas in their own way,” it added. To convey the message of a “broken promise” to the electorate of states going to the polls, UFESM plans to hold a Maha Sangram Rally in Patna in August, the statement said.
UFESM and all its constituents will boycott all government organised functions. This will be the next step towards assuaging the hurt of 26 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh widows who are the affected community of this “prevarication” the government.
Protest marches in conformity with the agitation will commence in one city per zone, with one city being added every second day, the group said. It shall be orchestrated against government apathy, assuring no disruptions to the general public. Close to 26 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.