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J&K Terror: Amit Shah to visit Rajouri today to meet families killed in attack

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will today meet the families of those killed in the recent twin terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. Mr Shah will also review the security situation in the wake of targetted attacks on Hindu families in the region.

Seven civilians, including two children, were killed and many more injured in two terror attacks in Rajouri’s Upper Dangri village on January 1 and 2.

Over 2,000 additional paramilitary forces have been rushed to Rajouri following the attacks. The authorities are yet to track down the attackers despite launching a massive manhunt.

This is Mr Shah’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir in the last three months. In October last year, the Home Minister visited Rajouri and addressed a public rally.

After meeting the families of the terror attacks victims and locals of Dangri village, Mr Shah will return to Jammu to chair a high-level security meeting. Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and the chiefs of all intelligence and paramilitary agencies will be attending the meeting.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the Dangri terror attacks.

The government has revived village defence groups in Rajouri and a large number of people are being given new rifles to defend against possible terror attacks.

Vigilante groups who were equipped with .303 rifles are now being given semi-automatic self-loading rifles.

Meanwhile, top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Arun Kumar and BL Santosh, have held a series of meetings in Jammu to discuss the overall security and political situation in the Union Territory.

The BJP is strongly advocating strengthening village defence groups and giving them more weapons. There are 28,000 village defence groups in the Jammu region and most of the members who have been given weapons are Hindus.

The Village Defence Committees (VDC) were first set up almost 30 years ago in Doda district when the law and order situation had collapsed in Jammu and Kashmir. The administration was criticised for abdicating its responsibility to protect common people and instead arming vigilante groups to help villagers defend against terror attacks. Eventually, the role of VDCs was diminished as security forces regained control of the situation.

In many areas, preventing the misuse of weapons allotted to vigilante groups remains a serious concern. But local BJP leaders say that terrorism can be stopped only by giving weapons to every family.

“Militancy can be stopped by village Defence groups and when there are weapons in every home,” said Dheeraj Sharma, BJP leader and Sarpanch of Dangri.

Mr Shama is playing a key role in identifying and enrolling new village defence guards in the terror-hit village. Dangri already has 70 village defence guards. Many more, including 40 ex-servicemen, have now joined vigilante groups after they were armed with new weapons.

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