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OROP Protest: Gul Panag Appeals to PM Modi, Asks Him Not To Break Veterans' Morale
Actress and AAP leader Gul
Panag today alleged that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "light
clarification" on the One Rank One Pension issue, there is still ambiguity
left over the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).
Panag, daughter of retired Lt Gen HS Panag, appealed to the
government to "unconditionally" fulfil OROP promises the way soldiers
serve the nation, as she claimed that veterans were actually given "One
Rank Five Pensions".
She was addressing the war veterans, who have been protesting
for over 100 days at Jantar Mantar.
Panag alleged that the government's Voluntary Retirement Scheme
(VRS) is a non-entity as there is nothing voluntary about it. She said that
despite the Prime Minister giving light clarification over the issue, there is
still ambiguity related to VRS.
"Even if you take premature retirement, you do so after
completing your pensionable services and that is also because the country wants
to keep their Army, Navy and Air Force young.
"But you can be recalled anytime for five years and even
when you apply for VRS, whether or not you get it now or after four years is
not in your hands," Panag, who contested Lok Sabha polls on an AAP ticket,
On September 6, a day after the government announced
implementation of OROP, Modi had said some people were trying to
"mislead" the armed forces, particularly on the issue of premature
"Jawans in the army have to retire after 15-17 years of
service. A few people think they will not get OROP....they are misleading you
by terming it as VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)....
"But if anybody gets OROP, jawans will be the first....
Those injured, those who had to compulsorily leave they will get OROP. And the
Prime Minister who loves the army cannot even think of depriving such people of
OROP benefits," Modi said at a rally in Faridabad.
Panag asked the government to fulfil the promises
"When a soldier pledges his life to protect his country, he
does it fully without any conditions and this is what we expect from the Prime
Minister also, that the promise he made to us, he should fulfil it completely,
now without any conditions.
"What the government has given in the name of One Rank One
Pension is actually One Rank Five Pensions," Panag said.
The former beauty queen also said that when the Prime Minister
speaks of giving a befitting reply at the country's border, it is these
soldiers who put their life at risk to guard the borders.
"When the PM says that 'mooh tod jawab diya jayaega'
(befitting reply will be given), who does this? It is the soldiers who are
deployed full time at the borders, and these soldiers would be ex-servicemen
tomorrow. The PM should not break their faith and morale," she said.
The AAP leader also asked why the Defence Minister had not sent
out any government notification regarding OROP even three weeks after the
announcement was made.
Panag also sought to correct those who call the OROP a
sentimental issue, saying that those who join the defence services do it for
their passion for the nation and not as any other job.