PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said the Narendra Modi government’s move to form village defence committees across Jammu and Kashmir contradicted New Delhi’s claims about normalcy in the disputed region.
“MHAs (Ministry of Home Affairs) move to form Village Defence Committees across J&K is another addition to a slew of decisions that contradict GOIs (Government of India) much-touted normalcy claims. Clearly, J&K is far from any semblance of normalcy. It will also create a wedge between communities,” Mehbooba tweeted.
The Peoples Democratic Party chief was reacting to New Delhi’s decision to revive the village defence committees which were redesignated as village defence groups.
They were first formed in the 1990s in Jammu and Kashmir to fight militancy.
According to a communique from the Home Ministry to the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the village defence groups will function under the control of the respective district superintendent of police.
According to a Home Ministry communication to the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the members of the Village Defence Group shall be designated as Village Defence Guard (VDG) henceforth.
“In more vulnerable areas, persons who shall be leading or coordinating the VDG would be paid Rs 4,500 per month and other persons who are members of these VDGs on a voluntary basis will be paid a uniform rate of Rs 4,000 per month,” it said.
The home ministry made it clear that the VDGs will function under the direction of the superintendent of police or the senior superintendent of police of the district.
The revised scheme, however, will be made effective only after apprising the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, where a case related to the issue is pending.