Village Destabilizing Culture


After initial vintage 3.3 rifles, the security agencies armed them with SLRs and even AK 47 rifles. Since, VDC members are not formally paid; they are entitled to keep an assault rifle as their trophy in case they are able to kill a militant – a situation that was rarely reported. Against an initial one-time allotment of five live bullets, they now get more than 50 at a time.

But arming of a section of a population by the state government has triggered a massive demand for the arms in the respective. In last two years, officials in the state home ministry told newsmen recently, state government issued 51622 gun licenses of which 31006 went to the Chenab Valley.

With militancy at its lowest, VDCs are emerging a societal liability. “Only some VDCs have fought against militants,” a police officer who is serving in the Chenab valley said. “They lack the capacity to fight militants. They work like watchmen and definitely are a deterrent.”

As there are not many militants around, the VDCs are busying themselves in a host of activities which will clearly trigger a reaction. A vast section of the VDCs is seen as extension of the rightwing parties. BJP’s emphasis on strengthening VDCs in the region has cast a shadow on impartiality of this extra-constitutional set up that policy makers within the police were desperate to legalize using the controversial police bill.

VDCs are increasingly being accused of emerging as a tool of annoyance to others who lack access to weapons and authority. In the run-up to the Kishtwar communal clashes, there were at least two instances that are being counted as contributors to the crisis: a gang rape by some VDC supported goons and a murder of a young boy being attributed to VDC men though there is no proof.

This has created a situation that the VDC men pull the trigger within their homes. There are scores of such instances being reported religiously by the media in Jammu. Some of the most recent are here.

An insane Yash Pal committed suicide in his ancestral Dalori village in Rajouri using his official weapon of his brother Ram Singh on May 20, 2013. A VDC member, Singh had died six months back but police did not collect the 3.3 rifle, allotted to him.

On June 12, 2013 Bansi Lal used his official rifle to kill himself in Gunda village of Rajouri. Abdul Hamid did the same thing on April 17 in Samdhu Magra in Reasi. Kewal Krishan, another VDC man in Panchari Udhampur used the official weapon to kill his brother’s wife before committing suicide.

It has been happening for all these years. On November 5, 2012, an inebriated VDC man Vipan Sharma facing serious conjugal problems committed suicide in his Bhandera village in Kishtwar. Kuldeep Singh of Kha No 1 village in Rajouri did the same thing on Nov 11, 2011. On May 6, 2011 Inder Singh of Choudhary Narh used his official rifle to kill his son Vishal after the latter objected to his perpetual inebriation. With son dead and father in jail, this family in Rajouri is a destitute. In a worst incident that took place on February 6, 2008, VDC man Sanjeev Gupta of Billawar in Kathua killed his minor son and wife before committing suicide. The entire family was annihilated.

Some of these VDC men were attracted to the gun-culture by the revenge factor as they were victimized by the insurgents. A few are benefitted while serving the VDC as they get adjusted in police formally on operational grounds. Various security agencies have had enough of free publicity by granting access to news media and do exceptionally great stories, especially the women being trained by


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