Ex-soldiers on hunger strike to protest pay commission irregularitie

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New Delhi, May 27 (UNI) Ex-soldiers today sat on a day-long hunger strike seeking rejection of Sixth Pay Commission recommendations for Defence services.

The military veterans gathered at the India Gate lawns for the token hunger strike to protest the ''absence of any positive response from the government to rectify the adverse recommendations in the Sixth Pay Commission report'' handed over to the government recently.

Major General Satbir Singh of All India Military Veterans claimed that the government should immediately form a separate pay commission or pay review board with members from the defence services -- both serving and retired to rectify the flaws.

He claimed that till 1972, the armed forces had a separate pay commission.

In 1973, they were placed in the same category as their civilian counterparts. The ex-servicemen have been demanding 'one rank, one pension' and a resettlement policy.

They also threatened to step up their agitation if their demands were not met.

Former Defence Minister and NDA convenor George Fernandes has supported the demands of the ex-soldiers and blamed the UPA government for not taking any action on the representations sent to it. ''I have told the ex-soldiers that till the time the present government is in office, their demands will not be met,'' he said in a statement.

The veterans wanted to stage a protest on April 29, but the Home ministry denied them permission.

UNI NAB SP AS1501

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