J&K unit of Adhivakta Parishad warned the State Government against any move to disband the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) under the pressure of separatists/anti-national forces and said that any move to this effect would lead to a massive agitation in Jammu province.
The warning to this effect basically came from a meeting organised in Jammu recently. The meeting discussed in detail the role of VDCs in tackling the terrorism and stopping migration of minorities in Jammu province and the ways and means to strengthen these committees. State president Shri Raghu Mehta presided over the discussion. About 35 advocates of J&K Bar Association, Jammu attended the Study Circle/meeting.
The participants in the discussion included Sr. Advocates Shri Ved Bushan Gupta, Shri NP Kotwal, Shri SS Nanda, Shri Ashok Beotra, Shri KS Charak and Young Advocates Sri Rajesh Thappa, Shri Rohan Nanda, Shri Munish Chopra, Shri Prem Sadotra, Shri Rahul Raina, Shri RR Bhat, Shri Manohar Anthal and Shri Diwaker Sharma.
The Parishad also resolved to strengthen the existing VDCs by providing respectable honorarium of Rs10,000 per month to the VDCs members and their regularisation in the police/para military forces in a time bound manner and they may also be provided sophisticated weapons for their self-protection and for the protection of villages/ hemlets which are situated at far-off places.
It is to be noted that VDCs were formed in Doda district in the year 1990 under the patronage of the late Shri Daya Krishan Kotwal and other nationalist leaders in different far-off villages of Chanab Valley for self-protection of villagers and to discourage the migration of minority communities from Chenab Valley comprising Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts. On the recommendations of some senior Police officers and after the approval of the then Central Government, a formal notification /Govt. order No. 293 of 1995 was issued by the J&K State Government for the constitution of VDCs, which are functioning in 10 districts of Jammu Province and in Leh district of Ladakh. There are 26567 VDC members and each VDC comprises 8 members out of which five are villagers and three are SPOs who are paid honorarium of Rs 3,000/- per month.
Most of the VDC members are Hindus because most of the majority community members have refused to become VDC members either under the threat of militants or on the ground that they were the sympathisers of militants operating in the area and also to the separatists movement launched by the pro-Pakistani and anti-national elements.The voice of disbanding of the VDCs is being raised by the separatists / anti-national elements and so-called self-styled human right organisations. The participants in the study circle say that any move to disband the VDCs would lead to revival of terrorism in the State. Before taking any such decision the policy makers must keep in mind the six massacres of Hindus i.e. in 1993 (17 Hindus were killed at Sarthal, 16 at Barshalla and 17 at Sumbar) in 1996 (25 at Chapnari) in 1998 (35 at Kalaban and in 2006 (22 at Kulhand). The situation like the one of Kishtwar in August 2013 can be repeated wherein a calculated attack on the lives and properties of minority Hindus was carried out by the anti-national elements at the behest of separatist and anti-national forces.