‘Drunk’ VDC men thrash nomad, resort to extortion

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Srinagar:  Appealing Government to disband Village Defence Committees (VDC) in Doda and Ramban districts, Mir Baz Gujjar, the helpless father whose son Tariq Hussain was mercilessly beaten up by the drunk VDC members in Ramban district of Jammu Division Friday said that VDC armed members have let loose a reign of terror who have been frequently attacking nomads and molesting innocent girls at secluded places.

To narrate the woeful tale and the atrocities inflicted upon nomad community by the VDC members, the father along with his injured son arrived in Press Enclave Srinagar from Ramban District of Jammu Division. “These are not Defence Committees but ‘Deshatgardh’ Committees. They loot, steal, beat and indulge in rape and arson,” septuagenarian Mir Baz Gujjar told CNS. “We are nomads and have no permanent station. We frequently along with our caravan move from one place to another and frequently these VDC men harass us and tease our women folk whenever they find nobody around,” he said.

Narrating the incident that occurred on May 17 (Sunday), his son Tariq Hussain said, “I along with my 21 year old sister Tahira Banoo were on way to Hushudhar Doda from Dingsal Nagraota. Cattle, horses and other animals were part of our caravan when near Haladundhrath Dogasar, six drunk VDC members armed with weapon ordered me to show my identity card. I was holding the saddle of the horse with one hand and the rope of the dog with another. It took me a while to halt these two animals and as I was about to show my identity card to them, they pounced upon me. The hit me with gun buts and kicked me. They treated me like an animal and beat me mercilessly. To save myself from their clutches, I started to run and suddenly they fired upon me. They missed the target and ran towards me. They took off my clothes, snatched my identity card and extorted Rs 28,000. Two of them ran after my 21 year old sister but she managed to escape from the scene,” Tariq Hussain who barely walks due to fracture told CNS.

 “I was shocked when Tahira narrated the whole story. I rushed to the spot and was stunned to see VDC men dragging my son by hair. As they saw me approaching, they fled from spot. I identified one among them and he was Faleel Singh, the notorious rapist and extortionist,” said the father of the Tariq Hussain.

He added that Sarpanch Haladundhrath Dogasar Purshotam Singh offered him Rs 60,000 to hush up the case and asked me to take the money for the treatment of my injured son. “I refused to take money and demanded that stern action against the culprits should be taken. These VDC men are the real terrorists and they should be disbanded,” he said.

Station House Officer Ramban, Vishal Dogra told CNS that out of six one accused Faleel Singh has been arrested while efforts are on to nab the others. “We have registered an FIR vide number 57/2015 under section 341,323,382,142 in this regard,” he said.

Refused to divulge the names of other armed assailants, the police officer said that Faleel Singh has not yet revealed the names of his companions.

It is not for the first time that VDC men have resorted to extortion and abuse of power. Scores of cases in recent past have been registered against VDC members ranging from rape, arson, loot and killings.

Legislator Sheikh Abdul Rashid had alleged on the floor of the House that there are more than 300 FIRs against these “extra-constitutional state sponsored terrorist outfits” but not even a single arrest was made. Even Government had admitted that various VDC members have been misusing arms provided to them by the State to ‘protect’ people from militants. 

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