Residents of Victoria and Alexandra roads say Southern Command personnel demand address proof and harass them.
Residents and morning walkers at Victoria Road and Alexandra Road near Ghorpuri are alleging harassment by army jawans of the Southern Command. They claim that the men in uniform have been prohibiting them from walking on the public road and are carrying out random inspections at the behest of the Military Engineer Services (MES) office.
Whose road is it anyway? A walking plaza board installed by the military at Victoria Road, where residents claim they are not allowed to enter with vehicles from 6.30 am to 8 am and 5.30 pm to 7 pm.
They claim that the jawans posted in the areas near Bogra Park and Empress Garden ask them for residence proof and passes and even stop their vehicles. The area has been turned into a walking plaza, and Southern Command they say has put up boards and signs mentioning the area as A-1 roads, which signifies it as a military area.
“The military has put up boards calling the streets as walking plaza and they don’t allow vehicles to enter the area. I have been operated upon my knees and the guards at times stop my doctor’s vehicle at the entrance and make him walk all the way to my house. What if there is an emergency? This is harassment,” said Maheshwari Devi, wife of actor Kulbulshan Kharbanda, who owns a bungalow in the area since 1952.
She added that at times her servants and gardener have been subjected to questioning and are treated suspiciously. The residents numbering around 25, who are mainly senior citizens, have been residing in the area for over 50 years.
“There are many senior citizens in the area and even they are not respected and are allowed to enter their bungalows only after much pleading. The road belongs to the public since the past 50 years. Till date, nowhere else are morning walkers being asked for passes. The military it seems, simply wants to usurp the land and drive us all out,” another resident and senior lawyer, who has been using the road for morning walks since 1967 said.
The walking plaza hours are between 6 and 8 in the morning and in the evening, where no vehicles are being allowed to enter.
When Southern Command office was contacted, a senior official said on condition of anonymity that the army has made some entry points at MES road walking plazas for the citizens themselves, debarring the entry of heavy vehicles.
“There had been a chain snatching incident few days ago and that’s why the inspection could have been carried out. Otherwise, there has never been any harassment on the army’s part. We don’t allow the entry of vehicles only for two hours each in morning and evening, which is for the residents’ own good. But if residents have any problem with that, they should approach the Cantonment Board,” the official said.
-via Mid Day