JAMMU — The Jammu and Kashmir Police has reactivated village defence committees (VDCs) to deal with the threat of militancy in the Reasi district, officials said on Sunday.
Justifying the move, officials said that though the VDCs are not professionally trained, they are highly committed towards self and community defence against militants equipped with sophisticated weapons.
“VDCs have proved a stonewall defence against militancy in remote hilly areas of the Jammu zone,” PTI quoted unnamed officials having said.
Considering them an invaluable asset to the police department and a force multiplier for the security of the region, district police chief for Reasi, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shailender Singh, chalked out a detailed strategy for practice fire for VDC members in the district.
Considering it an important exercise for those who have not checked their weapons and fired since long, SSP Singh said a schedule of one week will be helpful for nearly 6,000 VDC members, including 20 women, of the district, who are deployed in their villages.
Under this, VDC members from Reasi and Katra areas have been allotted the training centre at Talwara, and those from the Arnas police sub-division will practice at Rud Khad, the officials said.
VDC members from Mahore and Chassana areas have been allotted the Sildhar Mahore centre, they said.
VDC members and Special Police Officers (SPOs) are part of this exercise, the officials said.
“VDC being a force multiplier is considered as the first response to thwart any nefarious designs of anti-national elements in remote areas,” Singh said.
He stressed that as VDCs play a pivotal role in safety and security, it is necessary for them to exercise and practice firing their weapons.
“This can be only done with such exercises from time to time,” Singh said. “Reasi police will conduct many other exercises with the involvement of VDC members of the district.”
VDCs were formed in remote parts of Jammu in the mid-90s to fight militants. Groups of villagers — mainly Hindus — were given arms and trained to fight militants by the government. There are thousands of VDC members who have government-alloted weapons in different areas of Jammu.
However, the VDCs have evoked controversies and invited criticism on many occasions by way of misuse of weapons for crimes or accidental firing due to lack of training. Also, many VDC members have been found involved in various anti-social activities.