Ex-servicemen protest over pay panel; uncalled for, says minister

May 27th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Thousands of former defence personnel held rallies across the country Tuesday to voice their protest over the recommendations of the sixth pay panel. The government termed the protests “uncalled for” as the matter was being looked into. “The government has been doing a lot for the welfare of ex-servicemen. We are also looking into the recommendations of the 6th pay commission,” Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju said.

“It is unbecoming on the part of dignified ex-servicemen to hold rallies when the government is looking into the matter. I think it is uncalled for,” Raju added.

The defence personnel have been demanding for “one rank, one pension” and constituting of separate pay commissions for defence and civil employees.

“Thousands of ex-servicemen are sitting on a day’s hunger strike in 300 cities across the country against the pay panel’s recommendations. We will escalate our movement if our demands are not met,” Lt. Gen. (retd) Raj Kadyan said at the India Gate lawns.

“Till 1972, the armed forces had a separate pay commission. In 1973, we were put in the same basket (along with civil employees). But we want a separate commission,” Kadyan told reporters at the protest site.

The ex-servicemen wanted to stage protests April 29, too, but the home ministry denied them permission.

“This time we have not sought permission but informed the government about the rally. Last time we acted like disciplined soldiers, and will continue to do so,” Kadyan said.

The protesters were not allowed to go near the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.

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