Paramilitary Forces Too Demand OROP

‘Our service conditions are bad. The UPA regime was at least accessible... the NDA govt. is not.’

The announcement of One Rank One Pension (OROP) for the armed forces has riled the 12-lakh-strong retired and serving paramilitary force personnel.

The paramilitary forces, officially referred to as the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), which report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will soon petition Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Home Minister Rajnath Singh to assert their rights and be treated on a par with the armed forces. They are also planning to launch a strong protest and agitation in the coming days.
Many officials complained that the present regime was not accessible to them. Earlier, they had petitioned Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who had given them a patient hearing.

A paramilitary officer said the forces had been part of all the wars — the 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil wars — as they had fought along with the Army and were the “first line of defence.” He said since Independence, 22,250 Army personnel had lost their lives in different battles, while 33,678 CAPF jawans had been killed in the line of duty.

Several retired and serving CAPF officials, who spoke to The Hindu, said the announcement of OROP reflected the “discriminatory” attitude of the government towards them. Officials said the definition of enemy had changed in the past two-three decades and the danger was not only from across the border but also from within the country.

“We are the first line of defence in the country, be it the Maoist-affected areas, the border with Pakistan or the insurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East States. By leaving us out, the government’s intention of treating us as secondary citizens is visible,” said V.P.S Panwar, Chairman, National Coordination Committee of Ex-CAPF Welfare Association.

While there are close to nine lakh serving personnel in forces like the CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, which comprise the CAPF, there are 3 lakh retired personnel.

Facing discrimination

Mr. Panwar said, “Take the case of the Line of Control (LoC), where the BSF is deployed along with the Indian Army. If during an operation, personnel from both the forces are killed, then the Army jawan’s kin get four times more pension than those of the BSF jawan. Is not this discrimination?”

The officials also said that since 2004, they were clubbed with other government officials and that they had stopped getting pension. After the Sixth Pay Commission was announced in 2004, the pension for all government servants were made “contributory” in nature, with 10 per cent of the salary being contributed by the employee and the government each.

“We are soldiers too and are in a risk-prone job. Every other day, a CAPF personnel is killed in the line of duty. One of our demands is also that the government should restore our pension benefits,” said Mr. Panwar.

R.B. Pathak, who retired as a commandant from the CRPF said, “We were told that if and when the OROP is announced, it will be for the CAPF also. Earlier this year, we agitated at Jantar Mantar also, and if this is the way out, we will also sit on a protest there. Our service conditions are worse than those of the Army. The UPA regime was at least accessible and we met Rahul Gandhi and also Sushil Kumar Shinde. The NDA regime is completely inaccessible and our attempts to seek an appointment with Mr. Rajnath Singh has fallen on deaf ears.”

Source:- The Hindu


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