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Ex-Army personnel treated as civilians

Ex-Army personnel treated as civilians
Highlights

It is not just the civilian population that is facing problems with the Army imposing restrictions on the use of roads. A sizable number of ex-servicemen living in Sainikpuri, Vayupuri and Defence Colony are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. That ex-servicemen, whose loyalty rests with the Army

Cantt road blockade

It is not just the civilian population that is facing problems with the Army imposing restrictions on the use of roads. A sizable number of ex-servicemen living in Sainikpuri, Vayupuri and Defence Colony are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. That ex-servicemen, whose loyalty rests with the Army, aren’t exempted from the restrictions to use roads is something that they are not able to come to terms with.

Many ex-servicemen do not want to openly voice their opinion on the Army’s proposal to close down the roads but are nevertheless facing the brunt. Vimla Madon, daughter of Col CV Rao, who was the commandant of military hospital, says, “We have been using the arterial roads for over half a century and there was never a security problem. While I am proud of the Army heritage, the closure of roads, setting up of barricades and sand bags is not what we are used to.”

Army personnel manning Allahabad Gate

There are about 1,200 ex-servicemen living with their families in the Sainikpuri, Vayupuri and Defence Colony and a few hundred in different colonies in Yapral, Kowkoor, Bolarum, Safilguda, Malkajgiri, AS Rao Nagar, Neredmet and the neighbouring areas. Lt Col. (Retd) Bala Murthy, a resident of Sainikpuri, says, “We wear two hats. As a person who served in the Army, I know the importance of security. Even I will be affected with the closure of roads. There was never a security issue 30-40 years ago.

Today, when I go to Singapore I have to remove my shoes at the airport. Times have changed. We have a tendency to wake up only after a major problem. Take the case of Samba and Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, where miscreants entered the area in an auto and created trouble. Should we wait for such a catastrophe to happen?”

In the meanwhile, Army personnel are already finding it a problem due to the closure of roads leading to RSI from Yapral. The gates are locked after 11 pm and people are forced to take another longer route to reach Sainikpuri. Yatin (name changed on request), a resident of Vayupuri, says, “We have passes but the sentries leave after 11 pm. There is no other way but to take a roundabout route. I have lived all my life here and studied at Army School. There was never a security issue.”

“All ex-Army personnel and widows have been issued passes that are valid till 2016 but what is the use if we cannot use the roads,” avers Yatin. Sudha, another resident of Vayupuri, says, “Army personnel may not have a problem as they would be given passes. But what if friends and relatives who are not in the Armed forces want to come and meet us? They will have a tough time in the days to come.”

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