New Delhi: Armed forces veterans on Friday announced that they will return their medals across the country on November 9 and 10 in protest of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme as announced by the government.
This comes as the government is expected to issue the notification for implementing the scheme early next week as code of conduct for Bihar polls comes to an end.
The veterans are demanding early implementation as per the approved and accepted definition.
"We have unanimously decided to return our medals across India," said Group Captain VK Gandhi, the general secretary of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).
“We will be returning our medals, we will observe black Diwali,” Major General (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman IESM, said.
“The government has not spoken to us after the announcement. If we are a burden on the government, the medals are a burden on us,” Grp Capt VK Gandhi (retd) said.
On 145th day of the protest at Jantar Mantar here and across the country, the armed forces veterans also decided to escalate, upgrade and intensify their agitation.
"The government is willing to provide us an OROP, which is marred with discrepancies and is not as per its definition. To protest, all ex-servicemen with their medals will line up in disciplined and dignified manner in each district across the nation on November 9 and 10," Gandhi told reporters here.
"The district magistrate (DM) will collect the medals and if he doesn't come to collect it, the medals will be left behind. The DMs will be requested to guard their medals. We would request them to send these medals either to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or to President Pranab Mukherjee," he added.
The agitation of armed forces veterans continued even after the central government announced the OROP scheme on September 5. The veterans have said what government announced is not OROP, but 'One Rank, Five Pension'.
OROP is expected to benefit 2.6 million veterans and over six lakh war widows for parity in pension based on rank and length of service irrespective of the date of retirement.