Sarpanch Killing Triggers Mass Resignations

Srinagar – Feeling cheated allegedly by the government over fresh attacks, more panchs and sarpanchs resigned in the Kashmir valley, demanding implementation of the Panchayati Raj Act in true spirit in the state.

Killing of a sarpanch in Palhalan Pattan in Baramulla district on September 10 has shocked the panchs and sarpanchs, who were expecting security from the government after posters from the militant organisations appeared in different parts of the valley, asking them to resign or face consequences.

According to reports, more than a dozen panchs and sarpanchs have resigned in Palhalan and adjoining areas yesterday.

Some of them have announced in local mosques while others have announced their disassociation through paid advertisements in local newspapers.

Official sources said more panchs and sarpanchs, who were elected after panchayat elections were held in the state after a gap of more than three decades last year.

They said besides militant threat, the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards panchs and sarpanchs has been mainly responsible for these resignations. The resignation by sarpanchs and panchs started in June this year when posters of some militant organisations appeared in the Kashmir valley, particularly in south Kashmir, directing them to resign or face consequences.

The trend of resignation by sarpanchs and panchs stopped briefly after the government assured to investigate about the threatening posters and assured them security.

However, sudden increase in the militant activities during the past fortnight, when they carried out half a dozen grenade attacks and killed a retired police officer has risen the threat perception.

A sarpanch of the ruling National Conference (NC) Abdul Rashid Bhat along with six panchs, including two women, mostly from opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) announced their resignation in Pulwama in August. Several sarpanchs and panchs resigned in Shopian town in the same month. Agencies

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