VDCs to meet challenge of infiltration20 May 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Following stepped-up infiltration attempts by the militants to enter into Indian territory from the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Punjab sectors, police have created a new security grid along the border areas in the form of Village Defence Committees (VDCs). The VDCs have been equipped with weapons and WLL phones and given specialized training to deal with the militants by the police. Nearly 100 VDCs have been activated right from Akhnoor to Lakhanpur along the IB in Jammu sector, police sources told the Excelsior. Twenty eight VDCs have been created in RS Pura sector alone where the militants have made a series of attempts to breach fencing and intrude into this side amid reports that there was still a large presence of the militants on Pakistan side opposite this sector. Fifteen VDCs have been re-activated in Hiranagar sector and surrounding areas while 10 new Committees have come up along Arnia, another point on the IB where there was massive concentration of the militants on Pakistan side. Chilla Danga and surrounding villages leading to Mansar forests, once a traditional route of the militants after infiltration from Ramgarh, has also been activated by the VDCs. A number of intrusion bids have been made in Ramgarh sector during past few months. Sources said the newly created as well as re-activated VDCs all along Akhnoor to Lakhanpur have been given a fresh training in handling of arms and fighting with the militants on the directions of IGP Jammu Ashok Gupta and DIG Jammu-Kathua range Farooq Khan. Training of the VDCs has been completed and tomorrow about 45 VDCs, each comprising five to seven members, will display their talent at Satowali firing range in RS Pura sector. The VDCs have been issued weapons as per the existing policy and also given WLL phones wherever required. While 28 VDCs have been set up in RS Pura, 10 others have been formed in Arnia, 7 in Bishnah, one in Miran Sahib, 15 in Hiranagar, 18 in Samba sector and rest in Akhnoor, Kanachak, Domana and Rajbagh etc. Total number of VDCs in forward villages and the routes leading to Udhampur forests have been set up-re-activated during past few days. SSP Jammu Basant Rath, SSP Kathua Gareeb Dass, SSP Samba Raghubir Singh and SP Headquarters Jammu Jatinder Singh Johar were supervising the control of VDCs in their respective areas. In addition to arms training, the VDCs have been asked to carry out regular patrolling especially during the night in the areas allotted to them and maintain a liaison with border police pickets if they observe movement of unknown persons. Sources said the setting up of new VDCs and re-activation of existing Committees was necessitated following repeated attempts by the militants from across the border to intrude into this side by breaching fencing. Though most of the intrusion bids along the IB in Jammu sector have been foiled by security forces, five militants had managed to infiltrate from neighboring Nikial sector of Gurdaspur district in Punjab last month. Two militants were later killed by Punjab Police on Kathua-Gurdaspur border while three others had reportedly sneaked into Punjab. This was for the first time that the militants had used Punjab border to enter into this side. The VDCs along Punjab-Kathua border have also been activated. It may be mentioned here that Intelligence reports had suggested that there was no let up in number of militants camping at launching pads on the IB in Pakistan side even during the summer. Nearly 800 militants were reported to be waiting for an opportunity to sneak in to this side from the IB. Generally, intrusion bids were made in the months of winter only but this time the Pakistan Rangers were supporting infiltration of militants in summer too. The reason for continued infiltration attempts in summer is being attributed to extreme shortage of cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen in Jammu region.