Srinagar, Nov 6: Panchayat representatives in Kashmir continue their ‘resignation’ spree through advertisements in local newspapers, days after Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin issued a fresh warning to them, even as government has denied receiving any resignations.
Around 60 Panchs and Sarpanchs have made their resignations public through paid advertisements in various local dailies here citing threat to their life as the reason for the resignations. The fresh resignations through paid advertisements have taken the total to nearly 800. However, authorities maintain that they have received only 50 resignations since the landmark elections were held last year after a gap of nearly three decades.
Hundreds of Panchayat members announced their resignations through advertisements following killing of a deputy Sarpanch in Pattan area of Baramulla district in the second week of September this year.
Dozens more quit after militants issued a fresh threat in the third week of September.
Hizb supremo, Salahuddin, in an interview to weekly news magazine ‘Tehelka’ had said Panchayat members will be targeted in future as the government was projecting Kashmiris as pro-India.
“Panchs and Sarpanchs are exploited by India to project Kashmir as pro-India, and as such they will continue to be targeted. No matter how much government tries to secure them, they will still be attacked,” Salahuddin said in the interview.
Playing down the threats, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday ruled out providing security to each and every nearly 33,000 Panchs and Sarpanchs in the state, but had said the government was geared up to deal with any threat perception.
“We never said that we will provide security to each and every Panch and Sarpanch...We had said that whenever there is a threat assessment and we feel that there is need to do more, we will do that,” Omar had said.
All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference had yesterday said they would not succumb to the diktat of the Hizbul chief.
“We won’t succumb to any diktat because we are neither affiliated to any political party nor have any political agenda and are serving the people at grassroots level,” Ghulam Hassan Punzoo, spokesperson, AJKPC, had said.
He had appealed to all Panchs and Sarpanchs not to resign and continue to strengthen democracy at grassroots level.
Another association of Panchayat members today said they do not want security cover as that will not serve the purpose of working for the betterment of people at grassroots level.
“We have to see the actual purpose of Panchayats. We are the local representatives of the people and work at the local level. What fun is it if people have to go through a security barrier first to come to us with their problems,” Khurshid Ahmad Malik of The Jammu and Kashmir Panch and Sarpanch United Forum told PTI here.
“A village would be converted into a mini-security camp because there will be many Panchayat members who will then ask for security,” he said.
He appealed to the Hizbul chief to review his statement.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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