The coalition Government is pole apart over the issue of disbanding of Village Defence Committees (VDCs), with PDP demanding disarming, while BJP for strengthening it. BJP State President Sat Sharma told KNS that the saffron party’s stand is clear and firm over VDCs. “From day one, BJP has said that VDCs should be strengthened. They have played a role in curbing militancy in the Jammu region and along the border,” Sharma said. The BJP president said that if the PDP demand of disbanding VDCs is their “own stand, not government stand.” “In democracy, each individual has his own view. Similarly, PDP as a party has its own view and stand on VDCs,” he said. He said that so far the issue has not come in government discussion. “Whenever there is meting over the issue of VDCs, BJP will keep its stand, which is strengthening the VDCs before the government,” he said. However, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Zulfkar Ali said that the forces created to fight against militants should be disbanded as their role in has ended. “The militant threat in the state has almost ended and the VDCs need to be disbanded,” he said. “I will take this issue with the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed soon after he returns to the state,” he said. He said that the two incidents happened in my area in which three persons have been killed. “It is unfortunate that the government weapons have been used to killed innocents,” he said. The separatist leaders as well as the opposition political parties have demanded disbanding of the government militia. Opposition National Conference leader from Poonch district Dr Shahnaz Ganaie said that it was quite disturbing and alarming that no government has taken a review of the VDCs. “The government should review the VDCs as to whether they are needed or not, because it has been a long time since they were created. Now disappointing and unfortunate killings have been done by the VDC members. Surely, a review is needed. Then, the government should find from which area VDCs need to be disarmed and disband,” Shahnaz said that without accountability, the VDCs can create difficult situation in the region. A VDC member allegedly killed a mother and her 4-year-old son last week after barging inside the victims’ home and opened fire on them in Budhal village in Rajouri District. Earlier this month, another VDC member allegedly killed a 26-year-old youth, Ishtiyaq Ahmad, a youth activist of National Conference, during altercation also in the same district of the Chenab valley. VDCs were set up by government in 1992-93 by arming volunteers to counter militants in Jammu province. There are about 5,000 sanctioned VDCs in the state.
2015 Kashmir Despatch