Close the Cantonment Roads for Civilians !!

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To
The Raksha Mantri
South Block
Central Secretariat
New Delhi 110011

Ref: Order on The review of closure of roads undertaken by the MoD on 19 May 2018

Dear Madam,
We are the families of armed forces personnel living in various cantonmnents in India. With regard to the referred matter we would like to put forth the following points
1. The cantonments ( herein after referred to as cantts) are our homes for the duration and time of service of the member of our family serving the country in uniform. We take extreme pride and care in maintaining high standards of living within its premises.
2. However the recent attacks on military camps in Sunjuwan, Uri, Nagrota, Pathankot etc.have shaken us to the core. While the rest of the nation watches these horrors unfold on television from a safe distance, we live through it, hear gunshots, barricade our doors and pray for the safety of our men fighting to protect our cantts, our homes. If such deadly attacks have happened with high security at the gates of the cantts, we can only shudder to think what can happen when a cantt is left open for public thoroughfare.
3. Till now our children have played in parks fearlessly, studied in schools mostly located within the cantt premises and have grown up in these cantts learning to be respectful of the environment and abide by the motto that cleanliness is next to godliness. But with open cantts what guarantee is there that the next target of an anti-social or anti national element will not be our children?
4. Till date the soldiers who are posted to border areas can do their duties without any worry about their families back home because usually they are safe and secure in the Separate Family Accomodations in cantt areas. Please try to imagine the affect on the morale of a soldier whose family is no longer secure while he is away keeping safe the homes of each citizen of this nation.
5. Most family accomodations, parks, shopping complexes, movie theatres and other places where we avail of fauji amenities are not enclosed by boundaries in most cantt areas. Your order regarding the opening of roads will greatly affect the security of these places. These will be primary soft targets as most families and personnel visiting these places are relaxed and unarmed.
6. Each one of us has lived in cantts for several years and has never heard of events such as eve teasing, littering and other petty crimes. Your decision has lead to removal of all barricades and check posts and stoppage of all checking by sentries leaving us seriously vulnerable to such incidents.
7. Till date we could stay safely within the cantts knowing no matter what the dangerous nature of the jobs of our serving family member is, his/her family is secure in a cantt. The sense of safety and security was wiped away in an instant with your order to open cantt roads.
8. In today's civilian society even the smallest apartment complex, mall, theatre has security guards put in place by the management to stop the entry of unauthorised persons. In your eyes do we not deserve even this minimum security that our civilian counterparts enjoy? With your order you have taken away the right of the armed forces personnel to protect his own home.
9. Within a cantt, we take pride in preserving a wide array of flora and fauna. We take active steps to safeguard the trees and wildlife within our defence lands and reduce pollution to a minimum. In fact many cantts are plastic free zones. With the opening of roads you are endangering the lives of the animals that roam free in our campuses. Now unchecked speeding vehicles will endanger our environment, our children,our senior members and our wildlife. Some accidents are already being reported in cantts that have been opened thus far.
10. It is important to bring to your notice once again that the attacks by terrorists on army camps have increased in recent times as we, the family members are seen as soft targets. Before your decision is defended on the grounds that cantts in sensitive areas will not be opened for public thoroughfare let us assert strongly that every single cantt is a sensitive area. Nothing stops an anti national element from attacking a unguarded soft target with open access anywhere in the country.
11. In the case of occurrence of such an incident as abovementioned PLEASE inform us who in your Government will take responsibility for the same.
12. Kindly note that as a result of unchecked entry for all, the nuisances that are punishable U/S 289 of the Cantonments Act,2006 shall increase manifold. There is no adequate civil mechanism in place in most cantts to curb such nuisances.
13. We have been extremely aggrieved by this decision to open all roads and the methodology that is being followed to implement the said order as it puts us in the path of mortal danger and affects our rights enshrined in the Constitution under Article 21.
14. Also kindly note that the State has a moral duty to ensure the minimum safety of families of armed forces personnel living within cantts while our men/women in the forces are gone for long hours, months or years protecting our country.
15. We proudly state that we are the pillars on which our armed forces stand and we shall come forth and fight, adopting all legal recourses available to us, when our security, our safety and OUR WAY OF LIFE is threatened.
16. If at all roads within cantts have to be opened due to judicial orders, please take up each case individually. A blanket order to open 62 cantts without adequate alternative measures being put in place is just an invitation to trouble.
17. In light of the above mentioned points, please review your order regarding opening of roads in cantts and the methodology being used to enforce the said order.
Thanking you
Yours faithfully

Defense Family



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