Why VDC members forsaken, they need justice


Who in Jammu and Kashmir is not acquainted with the praiseworthy role played by the Village Defence Committee (VDC) members during the days Pakistani sponsored terrorism was at its peak in the erstwhile state especially in hilly areas of Jammu region? Who does not know how even women and young girls who volunteered to receive the training in using arms fought the militants and really made attacks and committing of violent acts by them gradually and virtually difficult hence making such vulnerable far flung areas as militancy free areas. Who even does not know after how many selective killings and even massacres of targeted minority community in these hilly areas, most of whom even started migrating to comparatively “safer” areas, these VDCs had been constituted to resist physically and halt such attacks of and wanton killings by the militants. To put it in other words, these VDC members provided a cushion to the already overburdened security apparatus/ the then state administration in 1990s by guarding the village areas day and night and resisting terror attacks. Many had in the process, even to offer supreme sacrifices while fighting armed militants. So, in difficult and trying times, the VDC members extended their wholehearted active cooperation to the Government never to expect that they could even be literally forsaken by the successive Governments in the near future. We voice our concern over the administrative apathy and indifference towards the rights of and dues to the members of these VDC members as they are not paid the monthly honorariums for years together, why? Could the UT administration clarify the reasons of not releasing their dues for the last four years as we learn that some procedural changes ostensibly to the detriment of these VDC members , have been brought in for distribution of such payments. Here, we may clarify and as the Prime Minister too on umpteen occasions, has underlined that time consuming and lengthy procedures should be done away with , in that spirit the procedures ought to be simpler , less time consuming and advantageous to the beneficiaries, of course genuine ones. Again, in that spirit, where a procedure or a ”rule” was ambiguous in respect of applicability, interpretation thereof as far as possible, should go in favour of the beneficiary. Therefore , by no reason or logic these members, whose acts of bravery thwarted many terror attacks and stonewalled any more of the nefarious acts of militants, do not deserve to be allowed to suffer and be in great distress. The authorities concerned, therefore, cannot justify literally stopping making payments to them regularly periodically as per their entitlement. If, frankly speaking, certain wrong practices or procedures prevalent during the successive Governments in the past in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir can be changed or rectified which we have been witnessing especially since 2019 when the erstwhile state was split into two Union Territories, why a particular “complication in procedure” continues to remain as it is and not changed for which the aggrieved VDC members are running from pillar to post taking up the issue with almost every concerned authority but justice still eludes them. We do not vouch for not bringing in certain changes and introducing provisions like deciding the age of retirement and even disengaging any VDC , if found absolutely necessary on genuine grounds, but what is the hitch in not releasing the dues to the members for four long years . In the first instance, the same may be released forthwith to decide residual issues thereafter.