JAMMU: The government is yet to recover 18 weapons looted during last year’s communal clashes in Kishtwar district of Jammu region.
Replying to a Cut Motion of a BJP member in the Assembly here, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said only 24 of the 42 weapons looted from a gun shop during the trouble have been recovered so far.
“Forty-two weapons were looted during the communal riots of which 24 weapons have been recovered. Eighteen weapons are yet to be recovered as the accused persons are still at large,” Omar said in a written response.
“Efforts are on to arrest the accused and recover the remaining looted weapons,” he said.
The communal violence, which occurred on Eid day in August and lasted for almost a week, left two Muslims and a Hindu dead. It had sparked a debate about disbanding of the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) which were blamed for starting the riots.
The VDCs were formed by the Jammu and Kashmir government in 1995 (J&K Home Department order no. 293 of dated September 30, 1995) with an “aim to provide defence to the village(s) and to check trans-border movement.” Since then, the VDCs have been actively participating in anti-militancy operations while there has been no organized pattern to the recruitment and training of the VDC members.
As per the government records, more than 90 per cent of VDC members in the Muslim majority districts of Jammu belong to the Hindu community with most of them on payrolls of the state government.
Of 3,287 VDC members in Kishtwar, according to official data, 96.56 per cent (3174 members) belong to the Hindu community, and 97.57 per cent of these Hindu VDC members are being paid by the state government.
Meanwhile, the government said it has paid relief amount to 76 cases of Kishtwar riot victims.
“An amount of around Rs 1.84 crore has already been paid in 76 cases by the district administration Kishtwar in lieu of the losses suffered during the violence,” the government said, adding that 13 more cases for payment of relief are under process, and 35 more cases have been received recently.
“Notices have been issued to these persons by the district administration to produce requisite documents in support of their claims. However, due to non-submission of the requisite documents, these cases could not be finalized so far,” the Chief Minister added.