VILLAGE HEADS GIVE IN TO MILITANT THREATS
Several Sarpanchs, Panchs Resign; Plead Non-Affiliation
Srinagar, June 8: In a fresh challenge for the state government more than a dozen elected members for Panchayats including some women tendered their resignation Friday and publicized their non-affiliation with mainstream political parties through local newspapers.
The development follows repeated threats being dished out by militants to the elected Panchs and Sarpanchs.
A militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) earlier this week warned elected rural body members to resign within a week's time. The threats appeared on outfit’s posters pasted on the electricity poles, walls of mosques and shops in public places in different villages of Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir.
On Friday around, 13 resignations and notices of non-affiliation of Sarpanchs and Panchs including women members appeared in the local newspapers in the shape of paid advertisements. Another three members had published their resignation and non-affiliation with any mainstream party in another local newspaper yesterday.
“Due to unfavorable circumstances I am resigning from the post of elected rural body membership. Now onwards I have nothing to do with this post and am not affiliated with any political party. The information is for general public,” reads one such resignation from Ali Muhammed Dar, an elected Sarpanch, published as paid advertisement in a Srinagar based daily.
The threats and the resignations have created panic among the elected members in villages of other districts as well.
A local news agency, CNS said around 50 Panchs and Sarpanchs have resigned.
The Director General of Police, K Rajendra on Thursday chaired an emergency meeting at Anantnag (Islamabad) to discuss security of rural body members in various districts south of Srinagar.
"The matter is under investigation," said a senior police official. “We are looking into the threat perception that forces these elected members to resign.”
As per militant diktat these members have been asked to keep their published non-affiliation declarations in their pockets.
The rural body members have become targets of militants soon after last year's village body (Panchayat) elections. Several members were killed and an equal number wounded in militant attacks. Last week also a rural body member was shot and wounded outside his house in a Shopian village.
J&K has around 4128 Panchayats, with 29719 Panchs and 4130 Sarpanchs.
Panchayat polls were held in JK last year after a gap of 34 years and the Government had promised devolution of powers to the grassroots representatives.
DGP said: “The very small number of militants present in the Valley want to make their presence felt. The elected members are the soft targets for them,” he said. “We are mapping these (vulnerable) areas and measures will be taken accordingly.”
The DG said police would investigate the issue from all angles. “We suspect involvement of some other persons in the attacks too,” the DGP said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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