By Anugraha Hadke:
As the One Rank One Pension agitation crosses 70 days, more than 45 Ex-servicemen continue a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. Col Pushpender Singh and Havaldar Major Singh have now been fasting for 8 days straight, Havaldar Ashok Kumar Chauhan is on day 6. While all officers are medically stable, no emergency services have been provided at the venue.
The Sainik Parliament, according to a press release issued on 21st August 2015, has decided that ex-servicemen will boycott all Government as well as military functions till the OROP scheme, which has been approved by both Houses of the Parliament, is not granted. It has also been decided that they will not be a part of the “functions planned by the Government and the Military to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of 1965 war with Pakistan” on the 23rd (August), and will instead conduct a candle light march all over the country. Participants will be walking from Jantar Mantar to India Gate in Delhi. Since OROP was supposed to be announced on Independence Day this year, August 15, 2015 has been declared a black day by ex-servicemen, as many have now hoisted black flags on their houses to express their anguish towards the government.
On 22nd August, the protest saw additional, and very enthusiastic support from students in Delhi when a group of around 100 rode their motor bikes from Delhi Cantt, through prominent areas of the capital, carrying banners in support of the agitation.
Support from all over the country, ex-military and civilian, is streaming into Jantar Mantar to encourage those on fast, in spirit and financially. Former NSG Commando and AAP MLA Surinder Singh, who was a part of the team that fought the 26/11 terrorists, has also declared his support for the movement. Amidst allegations, members of the protest have declared that no serving soldiers are a part of the protest, and they are not being encouraged to do so either.
However, the one support that the ex-servicemen seek – of the government – is nowhere in sight.