CHANDIGARH, Nov 10 - Scores of military veterans today returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab in protest against the �diluted� notification of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme even as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said their action is �unlike that of a soldier�.
The veterans said they will observe a �Black Diwali� to protest against the NDA government going back on its assurances on the OROP scheme.
At many places, the veterans held protests, saying they were dissatisfied with Centre�s notification issued last week.
Ex-servicemen from Ambala, Chandigarh, Moga, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur already returned their medals today, while those from Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara and Bangalore will follow suit �next�, Col (retd) Anil Kaul, spokesman of the protesters, said in Delhi.
In Delhi, several ex-servicemen returned their medals before the District Collector�s office.
Kaul also hit back at Parrikar over his �unlike soldiers behaviour� remark, saying his behaviour too �doesn�t behove that of a Defence Minister�.
He said those veterans who returned their medals were of various ranks including Major Generals, Subedar Majors, Captains, Sepoys, among other ranks.
Parrikar said he was �pained� to see such tactics being used by ex-servicemen.
Claiming that the veterans have been misguided, he asked them not to link their decision to return medals to a financial demand.
�Medals are given by the country for the service and gallantry acts that the soldiers have rendered. A section insisting on returning the medals because one is not happy with certain clauses of OROP, for which the government is paying over Rs 8,000 crore, is demeaning the medal itself,� Parrikar told PTI in Vasco Da Gama.
While noting that democracy gives everyone the right to protest, he urged the veterans not to return their medals which have been bestowed upon them by the country. �These acts are not in line with the Army discipline. It is hurting the basic ethos of the Army,� Parrikar said. � PTI