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A group of ex-servicemen demanding ‘One Rank One Pension’ today resisted eviction from the protest site at Jantar Mantar by Delhi Police and NDMC which were trying to clear the area in view of security concerns ahead of Independence Day. The move came under attack from the veterans who termed it as a “Black Independence Day”. As police and NDMC started clearing the protest hotspot, the ex-servicemen refused to go away and alleged that cops manhandled those protesting quietly. “I was pushed by the cops who even tore my shirt,” said 82-year-old Vishambhar shouting anti-police slogans.
A group of ex-servicemen demanding ‘One Rank One Pension’ have been protesting for the past two months. Terming the police action as ‘Black Independence Day’ group captain (retd) VK Gandhi said, “The way police have acted against us just a day before Independence day is unjustified.If there was a security concern they should have discussed with us before. “Now we will continue are protests from Jantar Mantar and if they arrest us, we will continue it in jail. It is a black Independence day as they have tried to curb our independence.” Ex-servicemen at the spot said the police action was “barbaric” and “undemocratic” and requested police commissioner BS Bassi to restore their tents. “This is shocking and obnoxious. Nothing can be worse. We are the protectors of India’s Independence. We are requesting the Police Commissioner to restore our tents since we had permission. The move to remove our tents is barbaric, undemocratic and dictatorial as it comes on the eve of Independence Day,” Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement. However, senior police officer claimed that it was a drive by NDMC to clean the area and cops were assisting them. In the drive they were removing all posters, banners and tents. “As Delhi is on a high alert ahead of Independence Day so we are removing the protestors to ensure security,” a senior officer said.