VDC members demand pending salaries, threaten to surrender weapons

VDC members during a protest rally in Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
VDC members during a protest rally in Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 28: Members of the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) today threatened to surrender their weapons if the Government fails to release their pending salaries immediately.
“We VDC members serve as ‘security arch’ to defend remote and hilly villages against terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir but we have not been paid salaries for the past over eight months,” said Bihari Lal Bushan, president, Village Defence Committee (VDC) Association, while addressing the media during a rally taken out in Jammu city to protest against the pending salaries.
Raising slogans and calling for the intervention of Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu and Advisor Farooq Khan into the matter, the VDC members said, “This is our second protest rally in Jammu. If the Government fails to grant us salaries immediately, we will surrender our weapons in respective districts with police lines”.
Bushan Lal said if anything ‘untoward’ happens with people living in rural, remote and mountainous villages, which they protect, the Government will be fully responsible. “Since 2015-16, we have not been given salaries, but even then we have been performing security duties and also take part in anti-militancy operations with police and army. Is it our crime?” he asked.
“We demand immediate grant of our salaries, which have not been released to us for the past several months. While wages of Special Police Officers have been increased to Rs 18,000 from Rs 5,000, the salaries of VDC members have been withheld,” he added.


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