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J&K Govt Launches Village Defence Guards Scheme to Keep Terror-wracked Region Secure with Help of Locals

By: Ankur Sharma

News18.com

Last Updated: August 15, 2022, 17:35 IST

New Delhi, India

The implementation has been initiated by the J&K government after getting an approval from the union home ministry that changed and revised the old scheme in March. (File pic: Twitter)

The implementation has been initiated by the J&K government after getting an approval from the union home ministry that changed and revised the old scheme in March. (File pic: Twitter)

According to the J&K government, the scheme is intended to inculcate an attitude of self-protection in security matters amongst the local population and also to supplement the ongoing efforts of the security forces in dealing with the acts of subversion and trans-border movement

The government of Jammu and Kashmir has released an official communication regarding the implementation of the Village Defence Guards scheme in the union territory.

The implementation has been initiated after getting approval from the union home ministry that changed and revised the old scheme in March. The scheme will be implemented from Monday.

The official communication from the UT government has also given details about the scheme.

“The members of the Village Defence Group shall be designated as Village Defence Guard (VDG),” the home ministry said in a communication to the J&K government in March. “In more vulnerable areas, persons (V1 category) who shall be leading/ coordinating the VDG would be paid of Rs. 4500/- per month and other persons (V2 category) who are members of these VDGs on voluntary basis will be paid a uniform rate Rs. 4000/- per month. VDGs will function under the direction of SP/SSP of the concerned District.”

According to the official communication of the government of Jammu and Kashmir released this month, each Village Defence Group will function under the supervision and direction of the SP/SSP of the concerned district. Similarly, each Village Defence Group will be led/coordinated by the persons bracketed in the V1 category, who will also be authorised to make use of the police wireless facilities for passing and receiving messages having a bearing on their charter of duties.

All the guards will get monetary benefits of close to Rs 4,000 per month.

According to the J&K government, the Village Defence Guards scheme is intended to inculcate an attitude of self-protection in security matters amongst the local population and also to supplement the ongoing efforts of the security forces in dealing with the acts of subversion and trans-border movement. “It is a manifestation of the will of the people to actively and voluntarily participate in the efforts to thwart the nefarious designs of the anti-national elements and to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the nation,” a government document says.

What is the scheme?

The Jammu and Kashmir government in its communication has said that the Village Defence Groups constituted in pursuance of the government order have over the years successfully ensured the safety and security of the identified vulnerable villages and supplemented the efforts of the security forces in maintaining internal security. “Keeping in view the security scenario prevailing in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, more specifically, in the areas where the earlier Scheme was in operation, a need has been felt to revise the existing Scheme with a view to prevent the incidents of terrorist acts inspired and supported from across the border and to boost the security grid in the Union territory,” an official communication of the J&K government said.

The aim

According to the government, the aim of the Village Defence Guards (VDGs) scheme is to organise a small group of volunteer armed civilians in the identified villages along the borders as well as in-depth areas of the Jammu division, with a view to instil a sense of self-protection and ensure the safety and security of such villages, infrastructure installations in and around them, and to check the trans-border movement. “Under the Scheme, the Village Defence Guards shall be charged with the responsibility of protecting community installations and infrastructure facilities within the defined areas of their village and the Village Defence Guards would conduct night and day patrolling in a systematic manner,” the communication says.

Categories and numbers

“The areas/villages, where the earlier Scheme was in operation shall be considered as ‘more vulnerable areas’ for the purpose of the Scheme and the arrangements made pursuant to the earlier scheme shall now be governed by the instant Scheme. Apart from these areas/villages, any other area/village, which may be considered as ‘more vulnerable area’ by the law enforcement agencies, necessitating application of the Scheme to such other area/village, the Government in the Home Department shall by an order declare such area/village as a ‘more vulnerable area’ for the purpose of the instant Scheme,” says the J&K government communication.

The VDGs will consist of categories like those in possession of a valid arms licence and to whom weapons have been provided by the J&K Police, determined by the district magistrate/senior superintendent of police concerned, keeping in view the credentials, of the volunteers’ population of the village, its location and security requirement. Secondly, persons in possession of valid licence and weapons or willing to purchase weapons on their own. Also, each group will be called the Village Defence Group and shall be headed by a retired officer of the Army/CPMF/J&K Police.

“The members of each group shall work on a voluntary basis and the selection shall be made carefully by the District administration, from amongst the Ex-servicemen and ex-policemen of the village and able-bodied young men, who have proficiency in the handling of arms/ammunition and are prepared to contribute towards the welfare of the community and security of the village,” the official communication says.

The Village Defence Guards (VDGs) will be divided into two categories, named as V1 category, for those persons who will be heading/leading/coordinating the Village Defence Guards in the “more vulnerable areas” will be paid Rs 4,500 per month. V2 category locals who are the members of the Village Defence Group on a voluntary basis will be paid a uniform rate of Rs 4,000 per month.

The scheme also talks about the village chowkidar and lumberdar of the “more vulnerable areas” who will be instructed to assist the Village Defence Groups in carrying out their duties. “They may also seek the assistance of the local villagers in the discharge of their duties, who would be dutybound to provide the necessary assistance and help. The District Magistrate shall invoke the necessary legal provisions to facilitate the discharge of the duties by the Village Defence Groups,” the J&K government says.

The district magistrate concerned will be responsible for dove-tailing the Village Defence Groups with the existing deployment of the security forces, both on the border as well as in the depth areas, in consultation with the security force commanders, so as to ensure optimum utilisation of manpower and weapons.

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first published:August 15, 2022, 17:35 IST
last updated:August 15, 2022, 17:35 IST