New Delhi/ Nagpur: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejariwal on Friday joined the agitating ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar and asked the Centre to implement One Rank One Pension (OROP) for the veterans in its “true spirit” rejecting its recent notification in this regard, informed media sources.
Kejriwal spoke to the media near the makeshift stage of the protesting veterans, however, he did not officially address the gathering and was asked not to make any “political statement” by Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who is spearheading the movement.
“The government notification is a farce because it is not in its true spirit. Please don’t fool the veterans. Implement OROP as per its definition. They are not begging but asking for their rights. It is unfortunate that the country’s soldiers are fighting for their rights on the streets,” Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister also tweeted his support for the ex-servicemen saying all their demands are “logical” and that the BJP-led Centre has been “unjust” to them. “Centre should immediately accept their demands.”
Few people, mostly in saffron robes, walked past the gathering of the veterans waving black flags and shouting slogans against Kejriwal just after the Chief Minister reached the spot. However, they were pushed to a corner by the police.
AAP MLAs Alka Lamba, Surender Singh and Devendra Sehrawat, and party spokesperson Raghav Chadha were also present.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently faced flak for saying that the behaviour of ex-servicemen protesting the notification on OROP scheme is “unlike that of a soldier” and they have been misguided.
The government had on 7 November formally notified the OROP scheme for the over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country, which was rejected by the protesting ex-servicemen.
The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.
The protesting ex-servicemen had earlier met Kejriwal and briefed him about the OROP notification.
Thousands of ex-servicemen have already returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, after terming the recent notification on OROP as “diluted”.