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Posted at: Jul 8, 2015, 1:24 AM; last updated: Jul 8, 2015, 12:59 AM (IST)

Army cold-shoulders league

Sub-Area GOC, Bathinda, ‘reluctant’ to provide water at rally venue

Anupam Bhagria

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7

The Indian Ex-Services League (IESL) will hold a rally seeking implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) at Bathinda on July 8.

Since the rally will be held outside the country’s biggest army station in Bathinda on a 3-km stretch on the Barnala-Bathinda Highway, the IESL officials had asked the Sub-Area General Officer Commanding, Bathinda, to provide water tankers to veterans taking part in the rally, but they said he has shown reluctance as they fear it might result in violation of some military law.

Talking to the Tribune, Brig Inder Mohan Singh (Retd), president, IESL, Punjab, said: “I spoke to the Sub-Area GOC, Bathinda, yesterday regarding the rally and seeing the heat and our resolve not to raise any funds, I requested him if water tankers/trailers could be placed at two or three points on the 3-km route from Sub-Area HQ gate to the Corps HQ gate along the highway. But there is reluctance because they fear serving water might result in some violation of military law and may be an explanation could be sought for this act.”

He said mostly retired junior commissioned officers or non-commissioned officers would participate in the rally, adding that several of them were the ones who had participated in the 1965 war.

“But we don’t expect anything from the current officials as a result we have decided to hire water trailers,” he said.

Comparing the issue with the recent controversy involving Sushma Swaraj and Lalit Modi, he said: “On being questioned why travel documents were issued to Lalit Modi, the Foreign Minister said these were given on humanitarian grounds.”

“What i want to say is that cold sweetened water is served to all commuters on highways by volunteers in summers on a number of occasions in Punjab, Haryana and other northern states. Is serving water and that too to veterans not a humanitarian gesture?” he asked.

Slogans to define new 'Make in India' concept

The slogans written on the placards, which they will raise at Wednesday's rally in Bathinda, have defined a new concept of "Make in India". One reads "Soldiers become veterans, veterans become beggars. This is Make in India" while another reads "Once a soldier, now a humiliated veteran". Some of the other slogans are: "In no other country veterans protest as in India" and "Indian soldiers' enemies- some across borders some in Delhi".


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