In Anticipation of VDC Revival, Army Starts Training the Militia

   

SRINAGAR: As the government is planning to revive the Village Defence Committees (VDC) network within the next 15 days, individuals who were manning the informal counter-insurgent set-up are demanding regularization and payments.

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VDC members in Mendhar (Poonch) being trained by the army. Pic: Twitter

Jammu and Kashmir have identified more than seven hundred vacancies of VDC SPOs in seven districts of Jammu province and is planning to fill up these vacancies by August 15, 2021, Jammu newspaper,  Daily Excelsior reported.

“In view of the present security scenario, it would not be desirable to weaken the existing VDCs,” the newspaper quoted an official communiqué, issued by DGP Dilbag Singh and addressed to Additional DGP, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh. “It would be advisable to have SPOs from the same village where the VDC is functioning and from where the VDC SPO was disengaged.”

As per the reports of District Superintendents of Police of Jammu Zone, 732 vacancies have accrued in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi and Ramban districts. Also, Doda district has the highest number of vacancies – 335. It is followed by Kishtwar with 180 vacancies, Reasi (94), Ramban (44), Samba (32), Kathua (31) and Udhampur (16).

It was in the quick follow-up of this decision that Basant Raj Thakur, who is State Convenor of BJP’s VDC Cell, addressed a press conference at Jammu.

“Now the Government has decided to recruit new SPOs for the VDCs, which is an excellent step and we are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Union Government at the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory Administration led by LG Manoj Sinha with the request that the VDCs, which are without SPOs and serving without any honorarium from the very beginning must be paid by recruiting SPOs for these VDCs also,” said Thakur said. He was flanked by VDC members Gardhari Singh, Uttam Chand, Manmohan, Gandarb Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Ashok Singh, Parshotam Singh and Sakinder Kumar.

The VDCs comprised 10 members including 3 SPOs for each VDC and the honorarium of 3 SPOs were equally distributed among all the VDC members. However, during the passage of time, SPOs were terminated and some lost their lives but no SPOs were recruited to date due to which some VDCs were with two SPOs and some with three or only single SPO, Thakur added.

As the files are completed by the State authorities, the VDC members requested the Union Government to directly transfer payments in their accounts.

The VDC’s were constituted at the peak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir during 1994-95, and were projected as an effective counter force to deal with an armed uprising in the hilly belt of Jammu. They were provided weapon training and .303 rifles by Jammu Kashmir Police. There are more than four thousand VDCs across Jammu and Kashmir and they consist of local villagers as well as SPOs.

Meanwhile, the PRO Defence based at Jammu has tweeted saying that to improve the self-defence capabilities, the Indian Army is training VDC militia to maintain peace in the region.

“To improve self-defence capabilities, #IndianArmy imparted trg Village Defence Committee (VDC) members on weapon handling, cleaning, musketry, firing & weapon maint drills at #Mendhar @PoonchDm. VDCs play a significant role in CT Ops & maint peace in the region.

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