CITING threats from anti-national elements and menace from poachers to the flora and fauna on its campus, the National Defence Academy (NDA) has put heightened security measures in place. The academy has directed patrolling teams to open fire in case they find any suspicious activity, and warned residents not to loiter in isolated areas alone or in groups.
The NDA campus is located in Khadakwasla, in the forested Sahyadri hills, and is spread across an area of 7,000 acres. The academy has recently completed the construction of a 37 kilometre-long perimeter wall and a 42 kilometre-long perimeter road for patrolling.
The directions to the patrolling parties come years after an incident in 2013, when a man was killed after he and five others had entered the campus, and the NDA guards had opened fire on them. According to the NDA, they were suspected to be poachers, and they had started firing at the guards first.
In a letter issued to all units of the academy on May 22, NDA authorities said, “The Academy has been on the radar of various terrorist organisations and anti-national elements due to its prominence, iconic status and high-profile visits conducted throughout the year. Numerous inputs from various military and civil intelligence agencies corroborate the fact that the NDA is a potential terrorist target.”
The letter warned residents of NDA campus — that includes a large number of military personnel, civilians and their family members — not to loiter in isolated areas within the campus.
“Mobile patrolling parties are armed as preventive security measures. The environment is, therefore, being sensitised not to loiter alone or assemble or gather in a group in an isolated place or location within the NDA campus without any valid reasons, since the patrolling teams have been issued directions to open fire in case of any suspicious activities observed by them,” stated the letter.
More than 50 per cent of the NDA campus is under forest cover and is home to several wildlife species and trees, such as sandalwood and sheesam, which can be targeted by poachers.