Veterans to Return Medals Over OROP Delay

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New Delhi: Upset with the delay in implementing one rank one pension (OROP), army veterans have decided to return their medals they have been honoured with in country’s service.

The veterans said the decorated soldiers among them would hand over their medals on Tuesday and Wednesday next week at the arrival halls of the Delhi airport and at the offices of district collectors in other parts of the country.

Ex-servicemen abroad will return their medals at embassies, they said.

The government has promised the veterans that a notification to effect OROP will be issued as soon as the Bihar assembly election is over, pleading that a model code of conduct prohibits it from notifying new schemes during elections. Votes will be counted on Sunday, November 8.

The threat to return medals is aimed at pressuring the government to notify OROP on Monday, November 9. It is already under attack from a number of writers, filmmakers and others who have returned prestigious awards to protest against what they call “rising intolerance.”

The government had, after negotiations that went on for months, announced on September 5 that it would implement OROP, which ensures that armed personnel of the same rank will draw the same pension regardless of when they retired.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier said the government was trying to issue the notification before Diwali, which falls on November 11.

Veterans protesting in New Delhi said last week that they have no faith in Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s promise. “The minister has changed the goalposts and hence the veterans have no faith in this statement,” Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who has led the ex-servicemen’s protests, said.

Some groups of veterans had also said that the provisions that the government has announced on OROP has shortcomings.

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