The rift between the Local Military Authority (LMA) and civilians in the Secunderabad cantonment area continues to widen, as army jawans blocked a road that was thrown open to civilians to conduct an exercise on Friday morning.
Photos doing the rounds show army jawans doing push ups in the middle of the road, blocking civilian traffic.
"The incident took place in the roads inside Eagle Chowk and commuters complained that the jawans were sitting on the road and began exercising as soon as they saw civilian vehicles approaching," CS Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad (FNECS) told TNM.
"What should one do, if they see an entire battalion in front of them? The civilians are terrified. Aren't the army personnel human too? The Constitution applies to them as well and they are abusing it. The law is on our side as our arguments are backed by the Cantonments Act, 2006," he added.
The move by the army has not gone down well with local residents, who see it as an open warning against using the reopened roads.
Former bureaucrat Mohan Guruswamy, who is also a resident of the area took to Facebook and said, "The army in Secunderabad is having jawans to exercise on the recently opened roads to disrupt traffic. It is downright silly considering the roads run through vast open grounds- over 300 acres - maintained by the government as training areas. But when in fact they are used as golf courses. The only entry to jawans here is when they are required to clean and garden the two golf courses (sic)."
"In all my years, I have never seen jawans on these roads except when they are tending to the golf courses and the vast gardens of the bungalows. Even retired officers avail services of serving jawans in my neighbourhood. Don't challenge me, I will post the photos. The LMA should stop being childish and try to seek a constructive solution," he added.
Meanwhile, there has been no official word from the LMA.
This came a day after the police bundled leaders of the Congress party into trucks after they staged a protest outside the office of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB).
The conflict began when the LMA began closing down key arterial roads, citing security concerns.
The closure of roads affected hundreds of residents living in areas abutting the AOC like Marredpally, Neredmet, Safilguda, Sainikpuri, Ammuguda and Yapral, among several others.
Recently, citizens felt that they had won a hard-fought battle after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a directive to reopen all roads in the Cantonment. The directive came after a meeting convened by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Members of Parliament and elected Vice Presidents of all 62 Cantonment Boards on May 4, 2018.
However, tensions between the two groups have since only escalated.
The roads shut by the LMA fall under several categories. While A1 land (in case of Gough Road) is under control of the LMA, as dictated by the Hyderabad High Court, the SCB has a say in the closure of roads that fall under other categories.
In 2017, after a two-year battle, an RTI reply from the Defence Estate Office had revealed that 6 roads out of 12 that have been shut in the Golf Course area came under the jurisdiction of the SCB.