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Ex-servicemen file police complaint against Army 'obstacle' Friday, September 7, 2001
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Imagine living in a house without an approach. It is a nightmare turned into reality for two former servicemen, Dr Balkrishna Kedia and Hemant Kumar, and their families who have been left with no exit from their houses since Tuesday evening inside the 14-acre Hansol firing range of the Army that has not seen any bullets fly for the past couple of years.
The two former Armymen have lodged a complaint with the Sardarnagar police station on Wednesday charging the Army with wrongful confinement under section 341 of IPC.
Dr Kedia, who had served as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps and is an associate professor at Civil Hospital, says: "On Tuesday when I returned after taking classes at the hospital, I saw that a deep trench had been dug across the road that led to my house by Army jawans. This road that had been open for use for 35 years had suddenly turned off-limits for the residents and I found myself locked out of my home with my family inside."
A similar predicament was faced by his neighbour, Hemant Kumar, who had to jump over the fences encircling the Army firing range to reach his home. "We met the deputy General-Officer-Commanding (GOC) and even GOC apart from other senior Armymen but none responded to our pleas instead sent us packing with scathing remarks questioning our decade-old existence inside the firing range," says Kumar who was associated with the Army's education wing.
Both Kumar and Dr Kedia say plot number 366 was bought by five individuals in 1992, complete with sub-plotting and building permission, from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Kumar moved into his house in 1993, while Dr Kedia took possession of his house in 1996.
"In 1995, the road connecting our houses to the road running by hotel Taj Ummed was closed down. This affected us as well as the 100-odd families who live in Hansol village; the matter was taken to the collector, who ruled in our favour. But, only in 1997, a station commander heard our pleas sympathetically and allowed us to use this road -- our only exit point from the otherwise landlocked area," said Kumar.
So, with the problem resurfacing on Tuesday and being turned down by the Army personnel, the two former-servicemen took refuge in police. A former director general of police A.K. Tandon feels strongly about the issue. Tandon, who lives inside the firing range, albeit in a different part, says: "In a similar case the Karnataka High Court had ruled in favour of the residents who were living inside a so-called Army area. Since this fire range is defunct, residents who have been allowed to live here by the civic authorities should not be bothered."
The BJP city chief, Mayaben Kodnani, said, "About six months back, I, along with a delegation, met the chief minister and the home minister on this issue. The result was that since this area is increasingly being used for residential purposes the Army cannot be allowed to use it as a firing range".
Army's Administrative commandant in Ahmedabad, Colonel Lal Singh told TNN: "This 14-acre land is owned by the Army since 1962 and civilians cannot be allowed to misuse it. Bowing to humanitarian considerations we provided a pathway many years back. But, every now and then residents ask for a fresh exit that is convenient to them. That the two families are stranded is far from true. These are nothing but pressure tactics to which we refuse to give in."
News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]