Village Defence Committee Kashmir (India)

Country: India
Details of Formation: National government encourages 'local resistance' - see Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Reports. Apparently, the government started to set up Village Defence Committees in Kashmir in 1995. Over the years, they recruited more people in order to protect villages from militants and to support the regular forces.
Details of Termination: Still active.
Purpose: The group was formed to protect the population from internal threats originating from insurgents, supporting the army and working with the police, and to contain terrorism. To achieve this, the PGM encouraged the population to practice self-defense. It was also used to patrol the border.
Organisation: Sources indicate that the group is commanded by the state government and subordinated to the police. It has some connection to the Special Police Officers (SPOs), but the relationship is not clear. According to one news source the committees consisted of one security officer, five former army members and five locals.
Weapons and Training: The groups were armed by the respective state government with automatic and semi-automatic weapons and guns. It is reported that some groups were trained by the army, while others were trained by the police.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: The group was supposed to contribute to the protection of civilians, however sources do not indicate how effectively it achieved this. One source reports that the population was intimidated by the group.
Other Information: Five all women VDCs existed, with up to 79 members, who were trained by the Indian Army. According to reports, there were 3700 VDCs in 2006.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.