New Delhi, Nov 10: Over 2,000 ex-servicemen protesting against the government's "diluted" one-pension-one rank scheme today returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, the organizations spearheading the movement claimed today as they hit back at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for his "unlike soldiers behaviour" remark aimed at them.
Colonel (retd) Anil Kaul, spokesman of the protesters in Delhi, said 2,000 ex-servicemen's medals were deposited at the district collector's office.
"The veterans had threatened to leave the medals on the road if we didn't accept it. Hence, we accepted those," District Collector Sanjay Kumar told reporters.
In Chandigarh, Brigadier Kiran Krishan (retd), Convener for North Haryana of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), a constituent of United Front of Ex-Servicemen that had led the nation-wide protest for OROP at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, said that more than 150 war veterans returned over 150 medals which were handed over to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula.
Kaul said ex-servicemen from Ambala, Chandigarh, Moga, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur returned their medals today while those from Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara and Bangalore will follow the suit.
"Our people from Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara and Bangalore will return their medals next. By the way, this is just the trailer," he added.
The veterans claimed over 20,000 of them have returned medals since their protest began in 2008 to press for OROP. Kaul reacted sharply to Parrikar's statement that the war veterans' protest against OROP notification is "unlike that of a soldier" and said the Parrikar's behaviour "too doesn't behove that of a Defence Minister.
Dismissing Parrikar's remarks that the protesters were being "misguided" and that the OROP notification issued on Saturday has been his "achievement", the agitators shot back at the BJP leader asking him to learn English to know meanings of the two words and asked him not to "lie" to his soldiers seeking their due rights.
"He says our behaviour is unlike that of a soldier. But we feel Parrikar's behaviour is unlike that of a Defence Minister. We have been seeking our due to rights for past 149 days. But government has found no time to listen to us. "Hence, we have been impelled to agitate Mr Parrikar. Your notification is not what we have been talking about. Therefore, we are returning medals," Kaul said.