New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday demanded an apology from the Modi government for the “brutal crackdown” on protesting ex-servicemen who were evicted from Jantar Mantar and demanded that the ‘One Rank, One Pension scheme be implemented in full.
The party said crushing dissent, strangulating voices and silencing democracy has become the chief hallmark of the ruling BJP.
“Brutal crackdown on war veterans and ex-servicemen is an insult to India. Modi government cannot digest peaceful protests for OROP. PM celebrates Diwali with jawans, but his government does not listen to the rightful demands of ex-servicemen,” said Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh.
Ex-servicemen who were protesting at Jantar Mantar since 2015 for implementation of OROP were on Monday evicted from the spot.
“Two days ago, Jantar Mantar was silenced using brute force by a government whose defining feature is intolerance to any form of dissent.
“Though the government enforced its will under the garb of an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the country knows the real reason for the alacrity with which the iconic protest site was cleaned up. Again today (Thursday), Delhi Police arrested the war veterans at Sansad Marg police station,” he added.
The party said about 12 ex-servicemen and war veterans were detained from Patel Chowk when they were silently sitting at a bus stop.
“They had no banners, no placards and were not shouting any slogans, still 25-50 policemen lathicharged them and later detained them. Is this Democracy under Modi?” asked the Congress leader.
Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said: “The mask of nationalism peeled off when the Modi government used Delhi police to forcibly evict peaceful ex-servicemen from Jantar Mantar and even arrested them thereafter.
“The Modi government which did nothing to fulfill the valid demands of ‘One Rank One Pension’ by the ex-servicemen is now resorting to use brute force against them,” he added.
Kumar also said: “Modi celebrates Diwali with our army men but commits gross injustice with the same people just after Diwali by denying them the benefit of OROP. Since more than 870 days, now war veterans are forced to sit in protest to demand their pay parity.”
The party leader further said: “Time and again the Modi government has used brute force on war veterans. First they used police force to evict and lathi-charge them on Independence Day in 2015. Then an ex-serviceman was forced to commit suicide in November in 2016 and now it is hiding behind an NGT order to target them.”
“To deny benefit of OROP to all serving personnel of the three armed forces is a cruel injustice. Modi government must apologise to the ex-servicemen for this misbehaviour and provide them with full version of ‘One Rank, One Pension’,” he added.
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