The serving Armed Forces and the Military Veterans have been protesting against the recommendations made by the Sixth Pay commission for quite sometime and the present UPA government has been unrelenting. After sustained protests and several rounds of dialogues with the determined Chiefs of the Armed Forces and also after the nationwide condemnations, the government relented and assured the serving officers of fulfilling their demands including pay-parity with other services. In the bargain, the government ignored the plight of retired personnel with utmost contempt.
The retired officers, under the umbrella of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), have been conducting protest demonstrations for over a year. As the government chose to ignore their demands while resolving the issues with the serving officers, the IESM decided to conduct 'Relay Fast' throughout the country from 20 October onwards emphasising their grievances related to pension and resettlement.
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan had written to the Home Minister on 15 September saying that the IESM would be conducting a relay fast at the lawns of India Gate from 20 October onwards. He had also endorsed the letter to the Prime Minister. As planned, more than hundred officers gathered at the lawns for a peaceful and disciplined protest demonstration. To their utter dismay, the police arrested all of them citing prohibitory orders in and around India Gate, but failed to clarify them the limits of the boundary under prohibitory orders. Though they were offered space in Jantar Mantar, they requested to sit near the War Memorial, which is considered as a place of worship by them.
The police refused despite their showing the letter written to the Home Minister and detained them at the Tilak Marg police station for more than an hour. Though the police was supportive and sympathetic, this is not the way the government is supposed to treat the military veterans. The Home Minister, who has received the letter as early as the second week of September, must have called them for negotiation or instructed the police to permit them to conduct their democratic and peaceful protests. The Prime Minister, for his part could have advised the Home Minister accordingly. Instead the veterans have been arrested!
In Tamilnadu Tamil separatist elements are conducting demonstrations in support of a banned terrorist organisation and speaking against the Indian government in favour of a separate Tamil Nation including the Tamil Eelam. The state government turns a blind eye and the centre doesn't have the nerve to ask the state government to take action against those anti-national elements. In Kashmir, separatist elements are burning our National Flag and hoisting the enemy country's Flag! The government doesn't have the guts to act against them, but the Prime Minister said that he was willing to talk to those separatist elements. In Maharashtra, ruffians and rapscallions of a political party, instigated by their leader, are indulging in mindless violence against the North Indians and the state government watches them as a silent spectator and waits for orders from the centre to arrest the concerned leader. On the contrary, the Military Veterans were immediately arrested, the moment they sat for a peaceful hunger protest!
This is purely outrageous and the action of the government deserves to be condemned. It is immaterial whether the government of the day accepts the demands of the veterans or not, but, it has the moral and even official responsibility to respect the veterans and hear their grievances. Despite the reluctance shown by the government, the veterans have decided to continue their protests. The nation hopes that the government will realise its duty and accountability and attend to the genuine grievances of the Military Veteran __._,_.___
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