In mid-nineties, the VDCs were set up in Jammu and Kashmir due to occurrence of a number of massacres of the innocent public of troubled region's far flung villages. Since there were no security force pickets near these inaccessible villages, the security forces provided military training to locals and equipped them with sophisticated weapons and wireless sets to counter militant attacks. Till date 500 such VDCs are now functional in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently cry for disbanding Village Defence Committee (VDCs) was raised. Separatist leadership and harbourers of different militancy organization accused VDCs of indulging in Crimes & riots.
Ill informed sections of society have spread the rumours that only one member of particular community were recruited VDCs. But, the facts are that VDCs comprises of members belonging to all communities irrespective of caste, creed, sex and religion. The first ever VDC was constituted in Poonch district comprises of all Muslim members. The foundation of first all women VDC has been laid due to daring act of Khatoon Begum. The main aim for creating VDCs was that the residents of terror infested areas wanted to live with honour & dignity and for that have waged a war against these gun trotters. It was the VDC who helped Army to destroy the biggest militant hideout in the famous “Operation Sarp vinash” Hill Kaka Mountains of Poonch district in year 2003.
Once again after a gap of few years, Pakistan Army have started firing and shelling targeting our forwarded posts, destroying houses, cattle & crop on our side of the LoC violating ceasefire agreement. Villagers living close to the border have been forced to abandon their homes. Subsequently, Pakistani troops have clandestinely sneaked into our side and ambushed and killed our soldiers. Pakistan did firing with the aim to push militants inside the Indian territory so that they once again to flare up the militancy in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. VDCs not only protect themselves but also used to pass on important information regarding the movement of militants to Security Forces. During the time of militancy, VDCs had kept militancy on tenterhook and helped Security Forces while fighting with them. We should aware of the fact that it is only that section which has political motives and the militants have some sympathizers in fermenting trouble particularly in Kashmir. Militants are under pressure and their ranks are depleting fast due to lack of support shown by youth of Kashmir for recruitment in their cadre. Those who are operating in the State are dogged by VDCs and the secrecy of their movement in largely exposed. This is the reason why disbanding VDCs is demanded.
The militants want to make their hideouts in the heights of the mountains and roam the areas as freely as they would like to. The raising of VDCs is essentially for self defence and the State is bound by the constitution to provide security of life and property to all citizens. Those who are calling the arming of civilian population for self defence as anti-democratic act should have raised this question when the militants took up arms and began killing innocent and defenceless civilians in far flung areas. Raising the issue of disbanding of VDCs is a new strategy of Pakistan and separatists of making smooth path for militants to perpetrate more atrocities on the people of the State. We should not forget the sacrifices made by VDC members for saving the integrity of the nation. If today is normalcy, it is because of great contribution of VDCs and people of Jammu and Kashmir are wise enough to understand the nefarious designs of separatists’ leadership and Pakistan’s Govt.