VDGs constituted in Rajouri, Poonch for protection of villagers: MHA

* Highest number of anti-militancy ops in 2022
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 8: The Centre today informed The Rajya Sabha that 27 persons including 25 security personnel and two civilians were killed in militant attacks across Jammu since August 5, 2019.
In a written reply, Union Minister of State in the Ministry Of Home Affairs (MHA), Nityanand Rai said that a total of 25 security personnel including two from Jammu-one each in 2019 and 2022, 2 in Rajouri in 2020, five in 2021 & four in 2022, 9 in Poonch in 2021, one in Ramban in 2019, one in Kishtwar in 2020 and one Doda in 2020 were killed in militant attacks post August 5, 2019.
He also said two civilians were killed in Jammu region , which include one in Rajouri in 2021 and one in Udhampur in 2022.
He further said 48 security personnel have also been injured in militant attacks, which include 10 in 2019, four in 2020, 14 in 2021 and 15 in 2022 and 20 civilians have also been injured including one in 2020, nine in 2021 & 19 in 2022.
Replying to another question, the MoS Home said that the Village Defence Group Scheme, notified by the Government of J&K in the year 1995, did not envisage constitution of the Village Defence Committees (VDCs).
“However, in terms of the Scheme ibid, Village Defence Groups (VDGs) were to be constituted. Village Defence Groups, in terms of the Scheme of 1995, have already been constituted in the districts of Poonch and Rajouri of the Jammu Division for the protection of villages,” it added.
“As per Village Defence Guards Scheme (VDGs), notified by the Government of UT of J&K on 14.08.2022, apart from the areas/village already declared as vulnerable areas in the Scheme of 1995, any other area/village, which may be considered more vulnerable area by the law enforcement agencies, necessitating application of the Scheme ibid to such other area/village, the Government can by an order declare such other area/village as a “more vulnerable area” for the purpose of the Scheme ibid,” he said
Meanwhile, the Centre said that 4598 drug smuggling cases were registered in Jammu and Kashmir from 2017 to 2021. Among these cases 12 have been registered by the National Investigation Agency.
In a written reply, Nityanand Rai, said as per the report of NCRB, the number of cases of drug smuggling registered in J&K in the last five years include 743 in 2017, 680 in 2018, 918 in 2019, 933 in 2020 and 1324 in 2021.
He said there is no data or study to indicate an increase in smuggling and consumption of narcotics or drugs in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 5 years.
Rai said the data is available as per survey conducted by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment on Extent and Pattern of Substance use in India through the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi during 2018 for which report was released in February, 2019.
He also said that the estimated number of various drug substance users with age between 18 to 75 is 585000 including 1,36,000 cannabis, 4,47,000 opioids, 1000 cocaine and 1000 Amphetamines type stimulant.
He said the various steps taken by the Centre to deal with menace of Narco-terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir include National Investigation Agency empowered under NDPS Act 1985 for investigation of Narco terrorism cases.
“To keep check at the land borders, Border Security Force has been empowered under the Narcotics Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act for making interdiction of narcotic drugs,” Rai said.
He further said the Government has introduced NCORD mechanism in 2016 to have effective coordination of actions among various Ministries, Departments, Central and States law enforcement agencies dealing with narcotics.
“The mechanism was restructured in 2019 into a 4 tier structure as detailed under Apex Level Committee (headed by Union Home Secretary) Executive Level Committee (headed by Special Secretary (IS),MHA). State Level Committee (headed by Chief Secretary of the concerned State). District Level Committee (Headed by District Magistrate). The NCORD mechanism has been further strengthened by addition of new members at different levels to make it more effective and comprehensive,” he added
He also said dedicated Anti Narcotic Task Force has been established in Jammu & Kashmir, which will also function as the NCORD secretariat.
The MHA further said that year 2022 saw highest number of anti-militancy operations in J&K in which 187 militants were killed while as civilian and security forces killings were at all-time low.
Replying to a query in Rajya Sabha, the MHA said that 111 counter militancy operations were launched in 2022, which is highest since 2018 that recorded 100 such operations.
“In 2018, 228 militancy related incidents were recorded, 153 in 2019, 1126 in 2020, 129 in 2021 and 125 in 2022,” the MHA reply said
It further stated that the year 2018 saw 189 encounters. “In 2019, 102 encounters were reported, 118 in 2020, 100 in 2021 and 117 in 2022,” the reply read.
It further reads that 39 civilians were killed in 2018, 39 again in 2019, 37 in 2020, 41 in 2021 and 30 in 2022. “91 security forces personnel were killed in action in 2018, 80 in 2019, 62 in 2020, 42 in 2021 and 31 in 2022, (which is lowest since 2018),” the reply adds.
It stated that year 2018 saw 100 counter militancy operations while as in year 2019, 74 such operations were launched. “Year 2020 recorded 100 such operations, year 2021, 95 and year 2021 accounted for 111 in 2021 (highest since 2018).
The reply also stated that in year 2018, 17 militants were arrested, 20 in 2019, 21 in 2020, 17 in 2021 and 24 in 2022.
“In 2018, the highest number of militants were killed at 257, 157 were killed in 2019,221 in 2020, 180 in 2021 and 187 in 2022,” the reply read.