Village Defence Committees (VDCs) were first setup in the mid-1990s in the Chenab Valley area of Jammu and Kashmir for the self-defence of Hindus in remote hilly villages against militancy. They consist of villagers as well as police officers.[1] As recently as 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir police set up new VDCs in Kishtwar.[1] Kishtwar has over 3,251 VDC members out of which 800 are armed.[1] In Jammu and Kashmir there are 4,125 VDCs as of December 2019.[2] The Indian Army conducts training camps for VDCs consisting of weapons training and intelligence gathering basics. On 15 September 2019, the Army trained VDCs in Naushera sector.[3] They were mainly set up to protect Hindus and minority Muslims.[4][5] Following the killing of a Kashmiri-Hindu Sarpanch in June 2020, former Jammu and Kashmir police chief said Shesh Paul Vaid that Hindus and minority Muslims could be armed and Village Defence Committees could be set up with proper planning.[5] The first VDC was set up under Shesh Paul Vaid when he was a Superintendent of police in Bagankote village, Udhampur (now Reasi) in 1995.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c Sharma, Arun (2019-07-17). "J&K cops overhaul village defence committees, PDP says Centre design to arm RSS workers". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  2. ^ "J&K village defence committees protest over pending salaries in Jammu, seek L-G GC Murmu's intervention". Firstpost. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  3. ^ "Indian Army organises training sessions for village defence committees in J-K". ANI News. 15 September 2019. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  4. ^ "J-K: Police to revamp village defence committees to curb terrorism". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 2019-07-21. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  5. ^ a b c Bhat, Sunil (13 June 2020). "Give arms training, weapons to minority Hindus, vulnerable Muslims in Kashmir: Former J&K DGP Vaid". India Today. Retrieved 2020-06-16.