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Village Defense Committees in Jammu - Some Thoughts on the Dangerous Ongoing Game

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Kanta Devi, an erstwhile VDC Head in village Choura Kot, district Reasi (courtesy: Daily Excelsio r) The recent outrage and noise following the Dangri massacre of Hindus by terrorists brought to focus a rather interesting feature of the security apparatus in Jammu's hilly region of Rajouri and other such regions in and around the Chenab region. A major question asked in the entire debate was the conspicuous absence of the Village Defense Committees (VDCs) and their inability to fight off terrorists. Of course, people have at best only heard about VDCs, and there is little by way of popular writings till very recently that I have come across on this subject, so I am going to attempt to capture some critical moments of the emergence of VDCs, their role in fighting off militancy, some attempt at explaining their success, and how since 2010 there have been attempts to actually de-arm these groups, one way or the other. Tracing the Origins After the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits