Govt rules out disbanding VDCs

J&K Government on Wednesday ruled out disbanding Village Defense Committees following murder of an opposition leader by a VDC member in Rajouri district here.
Govt rules out disbanding VDCs
GK Photo

J&K Government on Wednesday ruled out disbanding Village Defense Committees following murder of an opposition leader by a VDC member in Rajouri district here.

The opposition-led by National Conference, and the separatists have been demanding that the VDC should be dissolved after the NC leader from Kalakote, IshtiyaqChoudhary was killed by a VDC member last Saturday following an argument over illegal distribution of ration in the area.

"If member of a political party kills somebody, will they ban that party," Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh responded to the question regarding demand for abolishment of the Committees.

He was addressing media in connection with upcoming Golf Tournament in Jammu.

The VDCs were created in different districts of Jammu in 1995 when State was under President's Rule after outbreak of the armed conflict in late eighties. According to the State Home Department, the VDCs were set up for the purpose of "self-defence as well as supplementing efforts of the forces to curb militancy and cross-border infiltration."

Over the years, various cases of human rights violations including rape and kidnapping have been registered against members of the VDCs in Jammu districts. As per the police records 196 cases are registered against the VDC personnel in different police stations of Jammu province.

Earlier this year, the PDP-BJP government, soon after assuming the office, had made it clear that it had no plans to disband the VDCs.

The BJP has even set up a separate VDC cell which is demanding their regularization and converting them into a separate force. 

SalwaJudum, a counter-insurgency group set up by Chattisgarh government on the lines of VDCs and Ikhwan, was declared as illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

However, Nirmal Singh, senior BJP leader, termed the murder of Ishtiyaq as an "isolated incident" saying the law would take its own course in the case.

"The case has already been registered and action will be taken as per the law," Singh said while ruling out disbanding of the VDCs.

On ULB &Panchayat polls

The Deputy Chief Minister said elections for constitution of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) would be conducted in March 2015.

The ULB polls are due since 2010. Last time the elections were conducted in 2005 after a gap of 26 years. "We are mulling to conduct polls in March," said Singh.

He said the exercise would be followed by the elections for setting up of the 2nd and 3rd tier of Panchayats in May and June.

The elections for constitution of Panchayats were held in JK in 2011 after more than three decades. The polls for setting up Block Development Councils and District Development Councils would complete the second and third tier of Panchayati Raj in J&K.

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