Villagers Defend Themselves From Militants In J-K

23 February 2009

Darbal: Residents in Darbal village of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir are using their personal rifles and guns to protect themselves from insurgency. It may be recalled that after a recent incident of militant entering into their village, 65-year-old Jai Krishan used his licensed rifle to secure himself and his family. Soon, other villagers have taken up weapons to protect and safeguard themselves and other villages from unwelcome and armed militants. In fact, Jai Krishan blamed the authorities and security forces for not providing adequate security. He also noted that as a Hindu majority village they felt insecure about Islamic fundamentalists coming from across the border to attack. Jai Krishan said the Government should strengthen village defence committees (VDCs) and provide them with modern weapons and communication systems to fight militancy. 'There was a recent incident of militant entry into our village. We had to force them out by firing on them from our own guns. We had given information about this to the police and the Army, but we have neither been provided with any such security provision nor a committee formed. We have to keep ourselves safe by using our own guns,' said Jai Krishan. However, Superintendent of Police (Kathua District), S P Pani, said there are different security forces, posted at different locations around the village, to counter insurgency. 'Bani is connected to Baderwah and Doda districts. Hence, there are chances for militants for transit movements. For this, we have provided security arrangements in the form of VDC. The Army is already posted. STF pickets are also present. We have contacts with the locals. Any such odd incidents, which may arise, we are ready to tackle them,' said S P Pani, Superintendent of Police, Kathua. He also felt that it would be appreciated if villagers informed security forces about militant movements.