With spate terror incidents in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir in recent past, the Centre has directed the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to give combat training to the locals so that the villagers can thwart terrorist attacks. The Central Government has also decided to arm the villagers for self defence.
Sources said that CRPF will train the members of Village Defense Committee (VDC) of Poonch and Rajouri districts in handling weapons. This training will be given to those VDC members who have a weapon of their own and also have a license to operate the weapon.
Neither the government nor the CRPF will provide weapons to the VDC members. According to sources, the state police will also train VDC members in handling weapons. Already there are 5,000 armed members in Rajouri district and more villagers are registering to get weapons from the police.
Government to strengthen VDC
According to reports, on January 1, terrorists had fired indiscriminately at 3 houses in Dhangari village of Rajouri. And Bal Kishan, a VDC member who was present there had actually fought back with his .303 rifle, following which the terrorists fled from there. Four people were killed in this firing and the next day two other people had lost their lives in an IED blast planted by terrorists.
Witnessing Bal Kishan’s bravery, the government took a decision to strengthen VDC so that in future the villagers are trained to deal with terrorists if needed.
CRPF sends 18 companies
To enhance security in Rajouri and Poonch districts, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has, according to reports, decided to send around 18 companies of CRPF (about 1800 personnel). These companies will help the Jammu and Kashmir Police in setting up Road Opening Party (ROP) and just like in the Kashmir Valley road blockades in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region.
Almost three decades ago, early 90s Village Defence Committees (VDC) armed with rifles were first formed which was at the peak of unrest almost three decades ago . However, as the situation improved these VDCs lost value, and these erstwhile VDCs will get trained. So far there are 5, 000 armed members in Rajouri district and more villagers are getting themselves registered to get weapons from the police. These VDCs are now renamed as VD Groups or VDG. And each member will get a .303 rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition and there are plans to arm them with SLR rifles.