JAMMU, DECEMBER 30: The all-women village defence committees (VDCs) are playing a significant role in controlling terrorism in the far-flung areas of Jammu where presence of security forces is negligible.
At present, 450 VDCs are functional in Jammu & Kashmir for which men as well as women have been trained for self-defence and to counter any terror attack. They are trained by security forces in elementary battlecraft, fieldcraft and weapon handling.
It is pertinent to mention that the first woman VDC was setup in the twin villages of Marrah and Kulali, which became a role model for others. Women of such areas have established fine examples when it comes to save lives of not only their own family but also the entire village.
Defence experts point out that the security lapses and intelligence input gaps could only be covered with the help of VDCs.
The primary reason for the prevailing conundrum in J&K is essentially internal. Steps like establishment of VDCs have not only helped locals in combating terrorism, but are also measures to win hearts and minds of the people of J&K.
The increasing terrorism during the past 3 decades could only be checked with the help of locals, the security grid and intelligence input could work flawlessly with the help of locals only.
After the rise of VDCs, terrorists who relied on local support by hook or by crook have realised the potential of the system. Remote hilly areas of Jammu now act as small defensive units. This not only helped in reduction of terrorism, but regular inputs by villagers also helped in identifying and curbing the infiltration routes often used by terrorists.
VDCs were first setup in the mid-1990s in the Chenab valley area of Jammu & Kashmir for the self defence of people in remote hilly villages against militancy. They consisted of villagers as well as police officers. Troubled regions of far flung villages of Jammu & Kashmir were heavily manifested with militancy and there were no police or army pockets near these inaccessible villages. VDCs were setup and were trained by security forces, were provided with weapons and wireless sets to counter militant attacks.
VDCs have also helped building confidence among the village folk. (Courtesy: TS)