Srinagar, Sept 26: Condemning the recent killings of sarpanchs and panchs, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference Wednesday traced the situation to what it described as an ugly convergence of interests between National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, which, it says, has caused immense damage to the institution of panchayats and finally manifested in the form of a security threat.
In a statement, party chairman, Sajad Gani Lone, said both the parties – NC and PDP – marketed the votes cast in Panchayat elections as an ideological vote rather than an administrative vote and resorted to parading and poaching the elected representatives to have psychological victory over each other and score brownie points in Delhi.
Strangely, he said, it never crossed their mind that the sarpanchs might have a security problem, as it eventually did. And, when it came to their empowerment, the MLAs of both the parties viewed them as a threat rather than a step towards liberalization of administration. Both acted in tandem to enact separate performances of dance and theatre, publicly supporting their empowerment and privately ensuring they stayed un-empowered.
Accusing the patrons of both the parties of abandoning their workers in 1990s, Lone said they were doing exactly the same this time. For them, what matters is power at any cost and they see ordinary Kashmiris as dispensable entities. He said they hardly cared if a sarpanch or panch was killed.
At the local level, he said, the institution of panchayat was subjected to disdain with the police stations in most cases coming under politicians influence and showing scant regard to elected representatives. The administration’s attitude was no different at district level, everyone from deputy commissioners’ office to a class IV employee, humiliating them.
The security threat to the sarpanchs is never an important issue with the police stations because of a culture of indifference cultivated by the present political system, he said.
In the prevailing atmosphere of fear, Lone said, the ruling coalition, instead of trying to instill a sense of security in sarpanchs and panchs, announced elections for Block Development Councils, which predictably could increase the fear psychosis, with the security threat, real or imaginary, being used to influence the outcome of the elections.
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