Saturday, August 15, 2015
OPEN LETTER BY E-MAIL:
Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere, VSM (Retd) 475, 7th Main Road
The President of India
Supreme Commander of India's Armed Forces
Respectful Greetings on Independence Day 2015, to the Supreme Commander of India's Armed Forces, from a Veteran soldier!
My greetings on this day, when we complete 68 years of freedom from British rule with police force, should have been nothing short of joyous, because we as a nation have come a long way. But today, along with my sincere greetings, I feel compelled to convey a sense of deep sadness, anguish and disappointment. Kindly give me the kindness of your attention regarding the reasons for my mixed feelings on this day.
I am one among the Veterans who have been demanding One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP), which is a decades-old demand. OROP has been agreed to by the Koshiyari Committee appointed by Parliament. OROP has been agreed to by India's Apex Court. And OROP has been agreed to by successive governments. That is, the legislative, the judiciary and the executive – the three pillars of our Constitution – have agreed to the concept and the justice of Veterans' demand for OROP. I need not go into the details, since you would be well aware of them especially during your tenure as Finance Minister.
But your government has been prevaricating on implementation of OROP, and Veterans, many aged well over 80-years, have had to finally resort to satyagraha by sitting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, where they have been engaging in a relay fast since the past 60 days, of course with permission taken from Delhi Police for an indefinite period.
You would surely be aware that the Veterans demonstrations all over the country and especially at New Delhi are being closely watched by serving personnel of India's Armed Forces, and yesterday's sad events were screened on prime-time television. Besides this the ether is buzzing with WhatsAp and SMS messages which convey the mood of the moment between Veterans and the serving soldiers, who will all be Veterans one day. This mood of sadness, disappointment and anger among Veterans and serving Armed Forces personnel is extremely dangerous for our country.
You would also be aware that a recent survey a report titled “Democracy in India: A Citizens’ Perspective”, brought out that:”As in 2005, political parties were the least trusted political institutions, and the police the least trusted unelected institution. Trust in Parliament, while low, rose between 2005 and 2013, while the Army continued to be the most trusted institution. The civil service was perceived as the most corrupt, more so than local, State and Central governments“.
The events of yesterday morning bring out that the police (the least trusted institution) has physically attacked peaceful Veterans (the nations most trusted institution), on the orders of the political executive conveyed by the civil service (the most corrupt institution). This brings to mind the the rape of Draupadi in our Mahabharata epic. I earnestly and very urgently appeal to you, as Supreme Commander of India's Armed Forces, to take definite and urgent steps in the best interest of our country, to contain the damage done to the image of the Armed Forces by:
# Bringing to book the authorities which ordered the crackdown on Veterans on 14 August 2015 at Jantar Mantar, and
# Advising your government that prevarication on OROP is directly against the safety and external and internal security of our country.
# Take all necessary steps as the Supreme Commander that you may deem necessary, in direct consultation with the three Service Chiefs, to maintain the dignity and morale of the soldiers, both serving and retired.
With respectful regards,
(Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd))
(SOURCE- VIA E-MAIL)