Friday, November 4, 2011

IESL gets a jolt from the Grand Patron

Not your grand patron in chief, President tells ex-servicemen by Manu Pubby of Indian Express
Tags : Indian Ex-Servicemen League (IESL), President Pratibha Patil, perceived pension irregularities, grand patron in chief
Posted: Wed Jul 06 2011, 01:14 hrs

Even as scores of ex-servicemen continue to return their medals to her as a mark of protest against perceived pension irregularities, President Pratibha Patil’s office has written to a prominent ex-servicemen organisation asking them to stop using her name as the ‘grand patron in chief’, triggering a wave of protest by retired soldiers.

In a jolt to the Indian Ex-Servicemen League (IESL) that counts 9 lakh veterans across the nation as its members, the President last month conveyed that her name is being used as the grand patron in chief without consent and the organisation should discontinue this practice. The organisation has contended that the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has always been a grand patron in chief since it was set up in 1964 and has produced several documents, including letters by former Presidents Giani Zail Singh and V V Giri, to support its cause.
Not your grand patron in chief, President tells ex-servicemen

Rebuttal by IESL
Senior functionaries of IESL contend that the reason for the harsh stand by Patil’s office are the antics of its rival — Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) — that has in the past months organised rallies and protests for pension hikes. The President’s office has come under increasing pressure after members of similarly named IESM started returning their medals in protest against perceived pension discrepancies.
However, in the official letter sent to the organisation, Patil’s office has said the President as a policy is not accepting ‘patronship’ of autonomous organisations. The letter says the name of the President should no longer be used in any document of the IESL. Countering this, IESL functionaries say that several Presidents have accepted this ‘tradition’ and named three former Supreme Commanders who have endorsed the organisation.

Comment: Is IESL registered under the Indian Society Act of 1860? Mere recognition by MOD does not give it the sanctity to represent the Ex Servicemen. IESL as a body needs to introspect and legitimize its role. President has rightly snubbed the masquerading organisation. Question is whether the 9 lakh veterans have been taken for a ride? The Governing Body ought resign in shame instead of giving lame excuses and blaming IESM.

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