Congress official urges ex-servicemen not to return medals

March 18th, 2010 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Four days after a protest rally by ex-servicemen, an All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader has called upon retired defence officials not to be “misguided” into returning medals on the issue of one-rank one-pension.
Capt (retd) Praveen Davar, secretary of All India Congress Committee’s ex-servicemen department, said in a statement here that the United Progressive Alliance government has taken steps for steep hike in pension of ex-servicemen and there was no reason for them to return their medals.

Referring to a rally at Jantar Mantar here March 14 where some ex-servicemen decided to return their medals, Capt Davar said pensions of persons below officer rank (PBOR) have gone up three times and those of officers have nearly been doubled in the last six years.

“To expect anything more at this stage is totally unjustified and unethical,” the statement said.

Davar said it was unfortunate that despite notification issued by the defence ministry on enhancement of pension of people below officer rank, some “misguided” ex-servicemen had decided to return their medals at the March 14 rally.

“I appeal to all ex-servicemen, especially senior officers, to strongly condemn those who are instigating retired junior commissioned officers and other ranks to return their medals,” he said, adding that any call for return of medals was against values, traditions and ethics of the defence forces.

The AICC secretary said the financial position of ex-servicemen had improved and many “senior retired officers had invested in buying cars and property”.

“Those who are not satisfied, let them return their pensions instead of medals which are given to us by a grateful nation and not a particular government,” he said.

A delegation of retired defence personnel, under the aegis of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, held a protest at Jantar Mantar and marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan March 14 to return gallantry and meritorious service medals to the president. The delegation, however, did not return the medals, saying they wanted to give it to President Pratibha Patil in person. The delegation instead submitted a memorandum of demands.

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