To foil the evil designs of terrorists with the help of villagers, the Jammu and Kashmir Government launched the Village Defence Guards (VDGs) Scheme on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day.
The J&K government 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.
"In pursuance of the approval conveyed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide referred communication and in supersession of the Government Order No.Home-293 of 1995, dated 30.09.1995, the sanction is hereby accorded to the creation of the Village Defence Guards Scheme (VDGS)-2022. The Scheme shall come into operation w.e.f, and shall have prospective effect from August 15th, 2022", Raj Kumar Goyal, Financial Commissioner/ Additional Chief Secretary stated in official communication.
VDGs successfully ensured the safety, and security of vulnerable villages
The Village Defence Groups (VDGs) have over the years successfully ensured the safety and security of the identified vulnerable villages and supplemented the efforts of the security forces in safeguarding 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 preventing the incidents of terrorist acts inspired and supported from across the border and to boost the security grid in the UT.
VDGs to conduct day, and night patrolling in their respective villages
This scheme aims to organize 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 instill a sense of self-protection and ensure the safety and security of such villages, infrastructural installations in and around them and to check the trans-border movement.
Under the scheme, the VDGs shall be charged with the responsibility of protecting community installations and infrastructure facilities within the defined areas of their village and the VDGs would conduct night and day patrolling systematically.
Composition and methodology of VDGs
The areas and villages, where the earlier scheme was in operation shall be considered as "more vulnerable areas" for the scheme and the arrangements made according 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 a "more vulnerable area" by the law enforcement agencies, necessitating the application of the scheme to such other area/village, the Government in the Home Department shall by order declare such area/village as a "more vulnerable area" for the purpose of the instant Scheme.
Based on the assessment made by the law enforcement agencies, a group of armed civilians belonging to the "more vulnerable areas", not more than 15 in number in each group, shall be designated as "Village Defence Guards (VDGs) shall be formed. The VDGs shall consist of the following categories:
- Those in possession of a valid arms license 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.
- Persons in possession of valid license and weapons or willing to purchase weapons on their own.
- 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 Village Defence Guards (VDGs) shall be divided into the following two categories:
- Vl Category: The persons who shall be heading/leading/ coordinating the Village Defence Guards_in the "more vulnerable areas" shall be paid Rs.4500/- per month.
- V2 Category: The persons who are members of the "Village Defence Group" on a voluntary basis shall be paid a uniform rate of Rs.4000/- per month.
All the pending claims up to 14th August 2022, would be governed in terms of the earlier Scheme.
VDGs to function under the supervision of SP, SSP of the concerned district
Each VDG shall function under the supervision and direction of the Superintendent of Police or Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of the concerned district.
Each VDC would be led/coordinated by the persons bracketed in VI category, who shall also be authorized to make use of the police wireless facilities for passing and receiving messages having a bearing on their charter of duties.
The Village Chowkidar and Lumberdar of the "more vulnerable areas" shall be instructed to assist the VDGs in carrying out their duties. They may also seek the assistance of the local villagers in the discharge of their duties, who would be duty bound 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 VDGs.
The District Magistrate concerned shall be responsible for dove-tailing the VDGs 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 utilization of manpower and the weapons.