Protesting ex-servicemen refused to be evicted from Jantar Mantar on Friday when the Delhi Police and the New Delhi Municipal Council tried to clear out the area for Independence Day citing security concerns.
Police were subsequently forced to call off the eviction exercise and let the protesters continue with their demonstrations. “We have not given any permission to continue, but we will not be evicting them anymore,” said Vijay Kumar, DCP (New Delhi). He refused to cite any reasons for the change in decision which he said was a joint one by the police and NDMC.
The ex-servicemen have been sitting on a relay hunger strike for about two months now, demanding that the Union Government implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) policy.
On Friday morning, the NDMC and the police asked all protesters to leave Jantar Mantar for 24 hours, until Independence Day celebrations were complete. The DCP said that the NDMC had planned a drive to clear the area for Friday and Saturday.
“All protesters were told on Thursday to vacate Jantar Mantar, but the OROP protesters are adamant not to leave. That is why the police are forcibly removing them,” the DCP had said before the decision was reversed.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted his support for the protesting ex-servicemen.