New Delhi, Jun 12: A group of ex-servicemen, considered close to the RSS, has written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking implementation of 'One Rank One Pension' scheme so as not to "breach the trust" of 25 lakh pensioner soldiers.
In an open letter, it also sought a declaration of a definite date for the implementation of OROP. The letter comes ahead of a rally on Sunday to be organised by another group of ex-servicemen.
Reminding that in September 2013 at Rewari rally, then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had promised to look after armed forces personnel, retired and serving, when elected to power, the Akhil Bharatiya Poorva Sainik Seva Parishad said OROP is a "burning" and "emotive" issue.
"The ESM (Ex-servicemen) across the country felt that finally here was a political party that is friendly and empathetic towards the cause of a soldier.
As a result, most of us went all out to campaign for the BJP throughout India," Lt Gen V M Patil (Retd), President of Parishad, said in the open letter to Jaitley this week. Patil noted that Jaitley in his first budget speech had "assured all of us" about the implementation of OROP .
"However we now hear that your ministry, if not you personally, is delaying the implementation process and are exploring the possibility of combining the issue of 7th Pay Commission, or worse, just delay the announcement of OROP indefinitely," he said.
Underlining that soldiers were prone to talk straight and bluntly, Patil said the signals emerging from Finance Ministry makes them to believe that the "government or at least a section of the government, is bent on breaching the trust of 25 lakh ex-servicemen in India".
He said since Jaitley was aware of the angst and "pain" of ex-servicemen, the delay in announcement of OROP makes them wonder "whether the faith we had imposed in the BJP, the government of India and in you, has been misplaced".
It will be a sad day, the letter said, if the ex-servicemen have to resort to protests and hunger strikes to get their "rightful due". "A due, promised to the ESM by the government, not only as part of their election campaign, but also as part of their budget speech and Parliamentary addresses," the letter said.
Referring to the protest planned on June 14, the letter said that if the government implements OROP after that day, it will be seen as "buckling" under pressure of an agitation and opposition attack. It further added that it will be most unfortunate for democratic India "if the opposition of this country uses ex-servicemen as a tool against ruling party".