Nagpur: We need them to stand on our border, we need them to stand guard in unlivable conditions, we need them to perform their role away from their families and loved ones, but our government does not feel it their duty to honour them and acquiesce to their demands.
The chain hunger strike that was initiated in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar is now being undertaken by war veterans from Nagpur Districts under the banner United Front of Ex-Servicemen from September 4, 2015 at Samvidhan (RBI) Square.
The heroes for the day as they are called by the fellow veterans who are on chain hunger strike starting today are as follows:
- Brigadier Sunil Gaopande
- Naib Subedar Nana Gajghate
- Sergeant Manohar Bhakkalkar
- Sergeant Keshav Bhole
- Sergeant Keshav Bhole
- Havildar Devendra Singh Thakur
- Nayak A B Kanolkar
- Nayak Mohan
- Corporal V S Gedam
- Advocate Lacharwar
- S M More.
The next group will be replacing them tomorrow. The United Front of Ex-Servicemen Nagpur (Vidarbha) has organized indefinite chain hunger strike from September 4 to support the ex-servicemen observing hunger strike in Delhi.
One-Rank-One-Pension is a legal right of ex-servicemen and since last 78 days ex-servicemen are staging hunger strike in Delhi. The United Front of Ex-Servicemen Nagpur and association of all unions of ex-servicemen has extended the support to the ongoing strike in Delhi.
Manohar Bhatkulkar, Sandesh Singalkar, Chandrashekhar Kulkarni, Nilesh Vyas, Pundlik Sawant, Raju Dhande, Vilas Dawane, Shrikant Gangathade, Devendra Thakur and others have appealed its members to participate in large numbers. Retired defence personnel and war widows have been protesting for the implementation of One-Rank-One-Pension for more than three decades.
There have been several round of meetings between the government and veterans from all the three armed forces but have failed to arrive a solution. Defence Forces are the sword arm of a country and in India 85% soldiers have to retire between 35-37 years to maintain a youthful and fighting force. Defence personnel can also be discharged on account of disability. Sepoys retiring before 1996 get 82% less pension than one retiring after 2006. An Indian Army Major and equivalent rank in the Indian Navy (Lieutenant Commander) and Indian Air Force (Squadron Leader) retiring before 1996 gets 53% less pension than a Major retiring after 2006. Until 1973 officers drew 50% of their last drawn salary as pension and junior commissioned officers drew 70% of last drawn salary as pension. But the rule changed after Third Pay Commission’s suggestions which was set up in April 1970 with Justice Raghubir Dayal as Chairman and gave its report in March 1973, claimed a press release.