Srinagar, Jan 14: Two weeks after the Rajouri twin terror attacks which caused the death of seven civilians, the Village Defence Committee (VDC) members said that they are now seeing the peaceful nights and sleeping with calm after being equipped with arms.
“Since we have been equipped with SLRs and asked to use them, we are having peaceful nights and we have been able to sleep well,” Dheeraj Sharma, sarpanch of Upper Dhangri village told Greater Kashmir over phone.
He said that people in the village need to look after their self-defence. “It is not possible for the government to take care of everyone’s security. We need to become self-reliant and learn to take care of our own security,” Sharma said.
Citing an example, he said, “Since a war is going on between Ukraine and Russia but Russia is unable to take control of them because Ukraine people know the concept of self-defence.”
Ajay Kumar, a VDC member said that some peace has returned to the area after guns “have been again pushed into the service.”
“But I believe that we need to have more powerful guns such as automatic weapons which will give an equal reply to the attackers,” he said adding, “People need to be trained well on this so that they can fight their enemy and terrorism.”
“The government should make a clear-cut policy and plans on using SLRs because we haven’t heard anything from the government on this yet. We can’t misuse these self defence guns,” said Captain Balraj, a VDC member.
Meanwhile reports said that over 50 people have been detained by J&K police in connection with the investigation of the recent terror attacks.
J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha had promised to provide new weapons to ex-servicemen VDC members after he visited Dhangri village.
Earlier, all the VDC members in the district were equipped with .303 rifles which are single bullet loading weapons and have 10 bullets in a magazine. The rifle is considered powerful in terms of damage and long range but is considered outdated in terms of reloading, firing time and number of bullets it can shoot.
On January 10, Army also held a special firing practice session for VDC members at Mahadev Menka firing range near Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district.
The first of the VDCs were set up in the early 1990s in Doda district following attacks on the minority community members. Later, villagers were armed in Rajouri and other districts of Jammu region.
On January 1, four civilians were killed in Dhangri village in an indiscriminate firing incident by the armed men. While three more succumbed to their injuries after an IED blast in the village.
Dhangri Woman Takes Up Gun
Rekha Sharma, a resident of Upper Dhangri area of Rajouri district is the first woman in the district to pick up the gun for the safety of her family and local villagers as a VDC member.
“I thought of taking up the gun after I witnessed twin terror attacks in my village in which my neighbour on January 1st and 2nd, a widow woman, lost her two young sons. I couldn’t hold my emotions back,” she told Greater Kashmir over phone.
“I have seen blood spilled on the streets of my village and I wouldn’t let any other such incident happen. I will fight the terrorists who will harm us and we will definitely avenge the deaths caused in the recent terror attacks,” she said.
The 47-year-old Rekha said that she is organising a group of women as VDC members who will be trained to fight against the terrorism.
“I thought there is a dire need of the women community to understand about self-defence,” she added.