New Delhi: Protest over 'One Rank, One Pension' scheme for ex-servicemen continued for the 95th day on Thursday, the veterans stepping up the agitation and appealing to former service chiefs not to take part in 1965 war commemoration functions.
In an open letter, United Ex-Servicemen Front (UFESM) spokesperson Col. Anil Kaul (retd) appealed to all former army, navy and air force chiefs to send a "loud and clear" message to the government.
"All of you are today's ex-servicemen, notwithstanding the top most post you held in service. In accordance with the policy of UFESM to boycott the golden jubilee functions of the Indo-Pak war of '65, you too should not be attending the same to send the message loud and clear of the unfairness of handling of the OROP case by the government of India," the letter said.
"This action should make the supreme commander (President Pranab Mukherjee) ask for a presentation which we will gladly organise as per standards of those of former chiefs," it said.
"Attending these functions by any ESM irrespective of rank particularly by some of you and certain former C-in-Cs is being viewd poorly by your erstwhile rank and file. Remember, 'The men you command next always and everytime'," it added.
The veterans, meanwhile, said rallies will be held in places like Ambala, Pathankot, Kathua, Jammu and also poll-bound Patna, the spokesperson said.
The veterans are also planning programmes to honour war veterans among them and war widows of 1965 India-Pakistan war.
On Thursday, 22 people sat on relay hunger strike here.
Advertisements were also seen in leading newspapers, inviting people to come to Jantar Mantar and support the veterans.
As the government announced a scheme for providing OROP, army veterans said the scheme would not provide One Rank, One Pension as it has several discrepancies.
The veterans demanded the base year for the OROP should be financial year 2013-14, in place of 2013 announced by the central government.
They want date of implementation to be April 2014, instead of July 2014 as announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
While veterans want rationalisation of pensions every year, the government has provided for review only every five years.
Veterans also want the one-man judicial commission to be replaced with a five-member committee with their representation.
Another issue is fixation of pension as per the highest pension for the rank, against the government's announcement of it being average of highest and lowest pensions, with protection to those with higher pension.