Army chief's age row: Haryana ex-servicemen plan protest at Jantar Mantar
Manveer Saini, TNN Jan 25, 2012, 07.06AM ISTT
CHANDIGARH: Intensifying harden its support for chief of army staff, Gen V K Singh, the Rajput Pratinidhi Sabha and office bearers of ex-servicemen organizations from across the state on Tuesday threatened an agitation at Jantar Mantar on March 2 to press their demand for correction of the age of army chief. In a meeting held at Bapora, native village of the army chief, in Bhiwani district, the delegates, headed by Col (retd) Gajraj Singh, termed the government's stand as a move to bog down Gen Singh, who dared to recommend court martial against errant officers, after playing an important role in exposing various scams.
"We shall press the demand that government must consider Gen's date of birth as May 10, 1951. This is shocking that he had been given 8 promotions on the basis of this date of birth and now, just to retire him, the date of birth is being considered as May 10, 1951. Since various defense deals worth several thousand crores of rupees are lined up, some vested interests want him to go,'' Gajraj Singh told reporters after the meeting, sources said.
"We shall await the government's response. Else, thousands of ex-servicemen as well as those who support Gen Singh shall stage a dharna at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar," added Gajraj Singh.
Those who attended the meeting included Col (retd) Mahavir Singh, R P Singh, Col (retd) Veer Singh, Capt (retd) Suresh Tanwar, Kanwar Parveen Singh Tanwar and office bearers of various ex-servicemen associations and NGOs across Haryana.
Rajput Pratinidhi Sabha was the first to react soon after Gen Singh challenged the move to retire him on the basis of date of birth as May 10,1950.
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IESL gets a high voltage jolt
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.
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.
With the President’s office closing the case with a firm no, IESL has approached the ex-servicemen cell of the Congress in a bid to revive the ‘tradition’. “It is a serious matter and I will be taking it up through the proper channels,” secretary of AICC ex-servicemen department Captain Praveen Davar said
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IESL as an autonomous body should get themselves registered under the Indian Society Act of 1860, if it has not yet been done. Otherwise, it is an illegal entity and should not blame IESM or any other organisation for its derecognition by the Supreme Commander who is not happy with its Aim, Goals and Mission. All ESM organisations should come under the ambit of RTE and Lokpal Bill and confirm to the rules of the land in vogue.
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