Riled with President, ex-armymen reach Delhi

The ex-servicemen claim the government has allotted eight acres of land in Pune cantonment area to President Pratibha Patil. They believe the land would be better used for the welfare of ex-servicemen or war widows.

The government seemed to have earned the ire of ex-armymen by allotting approximately eight acres of land to President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil in the Pune cantonment area.

Battle cry? Signature campaign of ex-armymen against the use of
cantonment land by President, in Pune. File Pic

According to Green Thumb, a group of ex-armymen, the cantonment area was established by British around a hundred years ago, "only for the armymen". They claimed that if their land was taken away, they will be left with no option but to protest.

On Friday, a delegation of former service personnel addressed the media, wherein they expressed their displeasure against the government decision. They suggested that it would be better to allot the land to the war widows.

The delegation has now decided to meet the President's public relations officer to hand over their memorandum in this regard. They said they will be persistent in their efforts, until somebody in the authority paid attention to their concerns.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Suresh Patil, president of Green Thumb, said, "We will stage a nationwide protest, in which thousands of ex-armymen and war widows will participate."

Why not others?
"Patil is the only President to whom land has been allotted by the government. No one before her has been given a single acre of land. And why has the government chosen 200-year-old cantonment area. The place is meant for armymen and should be allotted to war widows and ex-personnel," said Patil.

For the last few months, the ex-armymen have been staging protests in this regard in Pune, Maharastra. They have come to the Capital with their demand for the first time. They even hinted that if needed, they will hold a candle-light march at India Gate.

"We need that land. Patil was allotted the land around a month ago, during the Anna Hazare-led protests in the country. Other prominent Presidents such as APJ Abul Kalam have not been given any land by the government. Patil has a lot of personal property. This is unfair," said retired colonel SC Diwan.

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