Govt Hands Over Guns To Volunteers In Rajouri To Counter Militants

Members of Village Defence Committees | File Photo

DC Visits Bal Jarallan To Inspect Allotment Of Guns, Cartridges; Announces Village-Wise Training Programmes

Jammu– Authorities on Saturday distributed weapons among Village Defence Guards (VDGs), comprising local volunteers, in a village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, an official said.

Rajouri Deputy Commissioner Vikas Kundal visited Bal Jarallan to inspect the allotment of guns and cartridges to the VDGs to bolster the security of the area. The weapons and ammunition are being provided to the VDGs by police authorities, the official said.

Bal Jarallan had witnessed a terror attack on February 19, 1999, resulting in the killing of seven people attending a marriage ceremony and injuries to an equal number. The village is four km away from Dhangri village, the scene of recent attack by terrorists which left six civilians dead and many others injured.

Interacting with the VDGs, Kundal assured that appropriate measures would be taken to maintain peace and tranquility in the district.

The deputy commissioner also enquired about their familiarity with the weapons and said village-wise training programmes would be organized for the VDGs after the weapons are distributed.

He also urged them to work for the safety and security of the people in the area.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has started reissuing weapons to the VDGs, earlier known as Village Defence Committees, following the Dangri incident.

Village Defence Guards formerly known as Village Defence Committees were first set up in the mid-1990s in the Chenab Valley area of Jammu and Kashmir for the self-defence of locals especially Hindus in remote hilly villages against militancy. Like VDC’s members of VDG are provided guns and ammunition to tackle militants in case of attack until the arrival of security forces.

The new scheme to set up VDGs in vulnerable areas of J&K was approved by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in March last year.

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