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Haryana:Protests over old pension scheme, police use tear gas

In Haryana, thousands of state government employees gathered in Panchkula on Sunday to press their demand for the restoration of the old pension scheme. They took to the streets and marched towards Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to press their demands. The protesters were stopped and Haryana Police used water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse them. Even tear gas shells were fired at the agitators. The demonstrators had gathered under the banner of the 'Old Pension Scheme (OPS) Restoration Struggle Committee' and a representative of the panel, while speaking to reporters in Panchkula, claimed that a few employees had suffered injuries during the police action. "Restoration of OPS is a legitimate demand. Governments of Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have restored it. The Haryana government has given an excuse that the government will go bankrupt if OPS is restored, which is not correct," the committee's representative said. Union leaders of government employees believe that statements made by the country's economists and politicians regarding the old pension scheme are not logical because the MLAs and MPs of the state themselves are getting multiple pensions. The government employees also warned that if the state government did not pay heed to their demand, they would be voted out of power.

Although the union leaders said their demonstration was non-political, the ruling BJP alleged that the Congress was behind the movement and was instigating government employees to fight for the old pension scheme ahead of the assembly elections. BJP leader Praveen Atreya said the old pension scheme was discontinued in 2004 when the Congress government was at the Centre. "The Congress deliberately did not raise this issue during its rule. Now it is being blown up so that it can take advantage of it in the upcoming elections," said Atreya.

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