Hyderabad: A senior citizen from the city has written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to shift the Secunderabad Cantonment out of Hyderabad. He believes that as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, the President should come to the rescue of hapless citizens who have been deprived of their basic rights by the army establishment.
77-year-old N. Jagadish is a retired postmaster who was born and spent all his life in the Cantonment area. He points out that in a report authored in 1926, Sir William Barton stated that the Cantonment would have authority over 13 villages in Secunderabad, and the buildings that would replace them thereon, only as a licensee, and that it would not have any claim over the land occupied by those villages. Mr Jagadish adds that the British did not own even an inch of land in Hyderabad, unlike other parts of the country.
The senior citizen blames the Union government for taking over the Secunderabad Cantonment after independence and claiming ownership of private properties in the area. He emphasizes that during the Nizam’s rule, the land was owned by private individuals; if control had to be seized, it should have been handed over to the state government, and not to the Union government.
Mr Jagadish says that the Colaba Cantonment of Mumbai was shifted away from the city during Sharad Pawar’s tenure as Defence Minister. “Cantonments should be stationed in places away from urban agglomeration,” he says.
He goes on to express how the Secunderabad Cantonment has become a thorn in the flesh of local citizens. “The centuries-old arterial roads have been closed to civilian traffic. The very sight of barricaded roads causes a psychological hatred towards the army, especially when areas that have been used by civilian commuters for ages are barricaded. The vehicles of tax-paying civilians are barred from using arterial roads in the Cantonment area, while the army freely plies its vehicles in the city without paying any taxes,” the septuagenarian says.
The former postmaster says that the residents of Secunderabad do not harbour an attitude of love, respect and hero-worship towards local military authorities. “Citizens are being put through inconvenience and hardships for no fault of their own,” he says....