Scared Panchayat representatives quit in dozens
‘Government Has Put Our Lives At Risk By Linking Polls With Kashmir Dispute’
Baramulla, Sep 24: About 80 Sarpanchs and Panchs resigned in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday in the wake of killing of a Deputy Sarpanch by unidentified gunmen in Wagoora area of this district last evening.
The Panchayat representatives have tendered their resignation from different areas especially Wagoora block before Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Block Development Officer Wagoora and other officials besides issuing advertisements through newspapers. A vernacular daily of Srinagar today received 54 resignations from Panchayat members to be published in the newspaper.
The fear psychosis after yesterday’s killing was such that several Sarpanchs from Rafiabad and Pattan also tendered their resignation.
Sarpanch of Nowpora (B), Muhammad Abdullah, said that he has put in his papers due to failure of the Government to provide them security.
“Today I resigned along with seven of my colleagues which include Panchs from Nowpora (A),” he said and identified the Panchs who have resigned as Fayaz Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Ashraf Lone, Tahira Begum, Irshad Ahmad Wani, Muhammad Sabir Wani, Nusrat Begum and Muhammad Sabir.
“I have resigned along with seven Panchs of Wagub today and we did this only due to indifference of the Government,” Ghulam Muhammad Lone, Sarpanch of Wagub, said and added that Government has put their lives at risk by linking Panchayat elections with Kashmir dispute.
A Panch, who identified himself as Abdul Majid from Pattan area, said: “Neither have we reaped any dividend by participating in elections nor we have any security cover. Why should we continue to hold such petty posts and put our lives and family in risk in such circumstances? The irony is that not a single Government official has visited the families of Panchayat members who fell prey to bullets.” On Sunday evening, suspected militants shot dead Deputy Sarpanch Muhammad Shafi Teli outside his home in Nowpora Wagoora, triggering panic and fear among Panchayat members across the area.
Earlier this month, a Sarpanch was killed in Palhallan Pattan area of the district. After the killing, several Panchayat representatives had issued a statement in Baramulla that they were not against the ongoing Kashmir movement.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad, said till date only six panchayat members have tendered their resignation.
Interestingly, the DC said: “As a confidence building measure, we are holding a conference of Sarpanchs and Panchs soon.”
The killing of Panchayat representatives has led to resignation of hundreds of Sarpanchs and Panchs across the Valley since holding of elections last year. About five Sarpanchs and Panchs have been killed and several others injured in separate attacks across the state since the polls.
The empowerment of Panchayat representatives has become a bone of contention between ruling alliance partners with Congress seeking incorporation of 73rd and 74th amendments in the state and National Conference opposing it.
Repeated attempts to contact Panchayat Raj Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar proved futile. Curiously, the Department of Panchayat Raj was created by Government last week to empower Panchayats.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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