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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FAUZI

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FAUJIYON KE SAATH KISI KA BHI NAHIN HAATH ,
by Gen. Puspendra Singh
A very different kind of protest is underway at Delhi’s Jantar Manatr. It is dignified and disciplined, like the faujis sitting in protest. But, accustomed to violent, disruptive protests, this has got hardly any mention in the media. In fact Babustan has made it a point to smother all coverage of the protest. About 15,000 medals of ex-servicemen of all three services – Generals to Jawans – have been collected and returned to Supreme Commander, Pratibha Patil.What do medals signify? To civilians these are trinkets which make ‘stupid’ faujis happy. But to a fauji, each medal is a reminder of courage, comradeship and sacrifice: the first time under fire - fear overcome and manhood gained; friends attaining veergati; some wounded or disabled. Hardship and separation from loved ones – perhaps, serving in Himalayas, protecting the very people who now deny him his dues, he became a father and yearned for the day he could proceed on leave to cuddle his newborn. When Mrs Shikha Bhardwaj, mother of Shaheed Capt Umang Bhardwaj, packed his Shaurya Chakra, she renounced the most precious nishani of her ‘jigrey ka tukra’. Even the shaheed hero’s father, Col Bhardwaj returned his own Sena Medal to Pratibha Patil. Every ‘ma and mai-ka-lal’ will feel Shikha’s heart- wrench over her tyaag. Only, Pratibha Patil, was made to miss the occasion – even her Military Advisor was absent. Such is the power and heartlessness of Babustan! After imposition of the election model code, when she met IESM delegation, she told them she had not been informed! What do faujis want; are they not paid enough? They seek justice and equity. Their demand is for one defined pension for every rank from Rifleman to General applicable to all retirees, irrespective of retirement dates (OROP). Due to steep promotion pyramid faujis face extreme supercession, based mainly on performance. Hence, denial of OROP affects them acutely. Consider some Army examples: there is only one Subedar-Major for 60,000 sepoys. Of 1100 officers commissioned every year, just three reach HAG-equivalent grade. In IAS/IPS there are more HAG posts than the intake level! Performance-based promotions are as foreign to these services as Burkina-Faso. Out of 11 lac armymen, only eight are eligible for OROP. But, over 99% of IAS/IPS officers, 100% judges and MPs have entitled themselves to it.Before Defence Forces were brought under ambit of the Central Pay Commissions (CPC), every rank had a specified pension. Thereafter, while subjected to the CPCs’ ‘awards’, they were denied representation in all of them - despite constituting 40% of all Central Employees. This is the key to Babustan’s steady erosion of Defence Forces’ emoluments and status. 6CPC took the cake. Not only were they denied representation, but were not even allowed to make even a presentation to the Commission! What is the result? ‘Anomalies’ from as far back as the 4CPC are still pending for 23 years! Atleast three are in Supreme Court .No wonder faujis term them ‘peeth mein chhura’! As cases drag on most faujis would never see benefits in their lifetimes; when these back-stabs are settled. That’s how Babustan denies justice to those who safeguard their air-conditioned lifestyles.Babustan’s MoD has consistently played a pernicious role in heaping injustice on the faujis. 4PC (1986), for the first time unshackled the Forces from the steep hierarchical pyramid by adopting a running pay band and superimposing rank pay. However, sly manipulation by Defence Finance ensured that the basic pay was depressed by the amount of rank pay! What the CPC gave, diabolic accounting denied. Major Dhanapalan’s contention was upheld by Supreme Court. Quarter century later, far from conceding their mistake, MoD is still fighting other veterans in the Supreme Court.5PC (1996) included Non Practicing Allowance (NPA) of Government doctors in their pensions. Subsequently, GOI reversed this for earlier retirees, forcing them to court. Having lost in High Courts, GOI appealed to Supreme Court. Later, better sense dawned on all other Departments, who withdrew their cases. But MoD still persists in singling out military doctors - the only group being discriminated against. The 6PC fiasco revealed the purposeful machinations of MoD-bureaucrats to depress defence forces’ status, yet again. When the Chiefs protested, newspapers, once renowned for fearlessly frank journalism, carried explicit threats. Thankfully, many TV channels and intrepid journals defied MoD and exposed Babustan’s degradation of two crucial ranks. This had immediate ramifications in security-sensitive Kashmir at police-chiefs’/ Corps Commanders’ levels. Clearly, defence of the Republic is inconsequential; only ‘putting-the-Army-down’ counts.More than 80% faujis retire before they turn 40 and nearly all before 60! However, while previous CPCs removed pension weightages which had partially compensated for early retirements, 6CPC further aggravated the disparities between pensioners. Today, a sepoy who retired in Dec 2005 gets 82% less pension than one who retired in Jan 2006! Even a pre-2006 Havildar gets 37% less pension than a sepoy - two ranks his junior. Surely, Parliament is there to safeguard fauji interests, as it is reflects the citizens’ solid support of their fauji bhaiyyas. Yes, the KP Singh-Deo Committee appointed back in 1980s first enunciated the term OROP and recommended it. But Babustan has been able to consistently ensure that it is not implemented. DS Nakra, a retired FADS, approached the Courts when he in turn faced pension inequity. Supreme Court in its landmark judgment of 17-12-1982 upheld the principle of OROP. Revealing extracts from the judgment are quoted below:"Pension is ….. but a payment for past services rendered”. The hon’ble court further stated, “Payment of Pension is a statutory liability incurred and must be provided in the Budget. The argument (regarding limitations of resources) is an argument of desperation ...without merit and must be rejected as untenable (Para 45)…” On 9-9-08, delivering judgment in a 5CPC-related case, whereby veteran Maj-Gens’ pensions were equalled to that of Brigs (junior rank) retiring prospectively, the Supreme Court quoted extensively from the Nakra case and ruled that different dates of retirement cannot be a basis for denial of equity in pensions - a senior rank-holder must get higher pension than his junior. At first 6CPC denied this to Brigs, Maj-Gens and Lt-Gens, all of whose pensions were made equal to Cols (junior to all) retiring prospectively. Only when faced with contempt notice, Babustan gave a nominal increase to these ranks. But still denies them OROP!In a TV debate anchored by Karan Thapar in Feb ‘09, it was brought out that OROP was part of the Congress 2004 election manifesto. In light of the above judgements, Manoj Tewari had to defend the indefensible: INC’s denial of OROP during 41/2 years in office. He mouthed the party line, ‘I empathise with these people (sic), but due to legal, financial and administrative reasons, OROP cannot be given.’ One month later, now seeking election from Punjab, he issued a statement that, should he return as MP, he would ensure that OROP is granted to Defence Personnel! If the citizens, Parliament and Supreme Court all favour granting OROP, what stops the Govt from acceding to this demand? Obviously, it is the Haath of Babustan. At a time when perilous security storms are gathering around us, the Defence Forces are forced to fight the might of Babustan for justice and honour. All patriotic citizens, who value the nation’s integrity, must vote for those who will support its fauji saviours and ensure that ‘farebi jhhootas’ are given the ‘joota’ in the polls.
Posted by vaneet kundra at 4:45 PM in his blog http://voiceofjanta.blogspot.com/

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