Reactivating the VDCs


The role of Village Defence Committees (VDCs) in combating terror related activities in the hilly areas of Jammu region needs no introduction or any exordium especially in respect of their superb role in fighting the said menace that had witnessed massacres of innocent villagers in these areas after the eruption of militancy in nineties. Not only the men but womenfolk displayed heroic courage to fight the militants. These VDCs across Jammu and Kashmir numbering presently more than 4000 were established in early nineties , first in Doda district – the worst affected by terror violence, all sponsored from across the border. Even though the VDCs members are not professionally trained, thoughgiven summary training in handling rifles for self and village defence, yet their high levels of courage and commitment to save and protect their villages from the evil mechanisations of the armed militants has been found quite satisfactory. Needless to mention, each Village Defence Committee consists of one Special Police Officer (SPO) who heads the committee and is considered as a bridge between the VDC and the Police force hence a peculiar role of an SPO. It is to be fairlyacknowledged that if militancy came on its last legs in the hilly areas of Jammu region, the credit to a large extent goes to the role played by the ever vigilant VDCs. However, the need to reactivate these VDCs has been felt and rightly so since there was enough potential in the respective villages in the youth to play the role of strengthening the security scenario in the form of SPOs. The youth recruited from villages where VDCs were functioning could be engaged with the Village Defence Committees itself instead of their deployment at other places in the UT. In this context, it is noteworthy that Director General of Police has assessed the entire scenario and viewed that looking to the present gamut of security situation , it would be ill advised to weaken the existing VDCs. The workable strategy to help making security situation more strong , it was advisable to have the SPOs from the same village where the VDC is functioning and wherefrom the VDC SPO was disengaged . This is a right decision taken at the right moment. New forms of threats to security situation, peace and tranquillity are emerging. In this connection the officeof the DGP has already issued a communiqué which is also addressed to the DGP , Jammu zone. However, not going into the merits of the reasons leading to some VDC SPOs having been disengaged, especially due to the age factor, nevertheless, there were no replacements hence most of these VDCs remained in inertial mode while the threat of militancy looming large continues to be there in place.The other face of it , however, is that it has resulted into taking place of 732 vacancies in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi and Ramban districts with Doda – the most vulnerable – having the highest number of 335 vacancies and Udhampur with the lowest 16 vacancies. It will therefore be in the fitness of things that these vacancies were got filled up at the earliest by the eligible youth of the concerned villages strictly as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs.