The tussle between members of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) and the army has intensified after a few army men deflated the tyres of about 20 cars belonging to club members parked at the club's ground last week.
Fighting a pitched battle: The tussle between RWITC members and the
army has intensified after a few armymen allegedly deflated tyres of
about 20 cars belonging to club members last week. File pic
This alleged harassment has made around 400 club members decide on filing a public interest litigation (PIL) against the army. "Last week, while we were attending a party at the club, the military men deflated the tyres of about 20 cars belonging to the club members. Just because they have been given the right to use the land does not mean they have to stoop down to such a level to pressurise civilians," said P Bhog, a lawyer and a member of the club. He said he would be filing the case along with 400 members.
The members have been claiming that the army, despite having its own reserved lands, including RSI, Sub-Area Mess, Southern Command Mess, CME Club, BEG Mess, among others, still wants to grab the land that has been offered to the civilians by the club. According to the members, the army, by putting up fences and boards from Ghorpadi to Kalyaninagar, has blocked the road leading to the club which was being used for 30 years.
"How an illegal memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Southern Command and the club to offer membership to ex-servicemen should be inspected. The MoU, signed in 2000, forces the club to give membership for Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 to ex-military men, whereas it's Rs 7 lakh for civilians. The ex-servicemen membership has increased to 325 from 300 in the past one month," said a member, requesting anonymity.
The Southern Command HQ in a statement had claimed a bid was being made by RWITC members to grab 65 acres of defence land by violating several cantonment laws and since it is in the process of auditing all its land holdings, it will take action against violations.