Retired defence personnel demand hike in pension

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Amritsar, July 11 (ANI): Scores of retired defence personnel staged a protest in Punjab's Amritsar city on Saturday demanding an immediate hike in their pensions.

Venting their ire, the veteran soldiers, donning their military decorations, badges and medals and chanting patriotic slogans with fervour, polished shoes and pulled rickshaws to draw attention to their plight.

The fiery protest, organized by the All-India Joint Panel of Citizens-Soldiers (JPCS), saw active participation by several army veterans, retired soldiers and ex-officers.

"We have gathered here to protest the abysmally low pension amount that is granted to retired army personnel. It is so low that a pensioner cannot even pay a nominal monthly electricity bill with the pension granted to him," said JPCS spokesperson C.S. Sidhu.

"The government must be ashamed that right under its nose, army veterans, who have given their life in the service of the nation, are struggling to survive," he added.

In the highly charged agitation, the ex-servicemen rued that due to government apathy, they have been facing an existential crisis ever since they got discharged from the forces.

"We will continue our struggle for justice till our demands are met. There are several pawns in the government, who are working with the enemy forces to destroy the nation through these tactics," said Sidhu.

The demands of ex-servicemen include One Rank One Pension, guaranteed reemployment, formation of Ex-Servicemen Commission and representation of ex-servicemen in all the bodies dealing with ex-servicemen welfare.

Over hundreds of retired defence personnel from the three wings of Services - Army, Navy and Air Force - had surrendered their service medals including gallantry decorations to the President of India in 2009 as a mark of protest for the non-implementation of the One Rank-One Pension demand. (ANI)

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