‘Village Defence Committees Won’t Be Disbanded’



Deputy CM, Dr Nirmal Singh, addressing media in Jammu on Wednesday.
Deputy CM, Dr Nirmal Singh, addressing media in Jammu on Wednesday.

After a National Conference activist, Ishtiyaq Choudhary, was killed by a Village Defence Committee (VDC) member, J&K government on Wednesday ruled out any possibility of disbanding VDCs.

People across ideological divide have been demanding that the VDC should be dissolved after Ishtiyaq Choudhary from Kalakote, Rajouri was killed by a VDC member last Saturday following an argument over illegal distribution of ration in the area.

“If member of a political party kills somebody, will they ban that party,” Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said in a press conference in Jammu yesterday.

He was addressing media in connection with upcoming Golf Tournament in Jammu.

The VDCs were created in different districts of Jammu in 1995 when State was under President’s Rule after outbreak of the armed conflict in late eighties.

According to the State Home Department, the VDCs were set up for the purpose of “self-defence as well as supplementing efforts of the forces to curb militancy and cross-border infiltration.”

Over the years, various cases of human rights violations including rape and kidnapping have been registered against members of the VDCs in Jammu districts. As per the police records 196 cases are registered against the VDC personnel in different police stations of Jammu province.

The BJP has even set up a separate VDC cell which is demanding their regularization and converting them into a separate force.

Nirmal Singh termed the murder of Ishtiyaq as an “isolated incident” saying the law would take its own course in the case.

“The case has already been registered and action will be taken as per the law,” Singh said while ruling out disbanding of the VDCs.


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