OROP: Veterans’ Umbrella Group Breaks, One Faction Dissociates

A faction led by Lt Gen (Rtd) Balbir Singh has dissociated itself from the umbrella organisation agitating for OROP.

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Veterans at a protest over the OROP issue&nbsp;(Photo: <i>The Quint</i>)

The umbrella organisation leading the agitation for ‘One-Rank, One-Pension’ (OROP) split on Wednesday, just three days ahead of a planned rally. A key faction dissociated itself from the group, citing “lack of cohesiveness” and suggesting that the movement had become politicised.

We have informed the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM) about our decision to withdraw from the grouping. The movement is no longer cohesive.
— Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, President of the Indian Ex-Servicemen League

Singh, who was one of the key negotiators from the veterans’ side in the talks over OROP, said he was against the rally being organised on Saturday at Jantar Mantar.

He claimed that his group has about 4.5 lakh members and none from his side would be participating in the rally. Altogether, there are around 26 lakh ex-servicemen.

He said that the constitution of his organisation maintains that its activities will be apolitical. He added that “with rally being planned in Bihar, we felt this was against our own constitution”. He was referring to a grand rally planned by the UFESM in poll-bound Bihar for which no date has been fixed yet.

Protests can continue after that if need be. Meanwhile, our grievances against the OROP announced by the government should be pursued before the one-man judicial commission that will be set up. We should wait for the final written order that will be issued by the government.
— Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, President of the Indian Ex-Servicemen League


Meanwhile, undeterred by the withdrawal, UFESM said the rally will go on.

It is an attempt by the government to break us. We will not be deterred and the rally will go on as planned.
— Col (Retd) Anil Kaul, Media Advisor to UFESM

Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who is leading the agitation under the banner of UFESM, could not be reached for a comment.

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