Killing Of Panchayat Leaders: Army Patrols Stepped Up

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Srinagar – With a wave of insecurity sweeping over village representatives after the killing of panchayat members, the army and the police have begun joint night patrolling for area domination exercises in rural Kashmir where check-points and frisking are back in vogue after sunset.

The step comes amid a snow-balling political crisis following the killings which have led to hundreds of elected rural representatives announcing their resignation, even as political parties have begun a fresh round of accusations and counter-accusations.

The purported security measures have been put into force in the Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipur districts with strict curbs on nocturnal outdoor movement.

People have been asked to carry lanterns or burning torches when undertaking movement in the dark.

The patrolling begins at eight in the night, and people found outdoors are thoroughly searched and questioned, reports said.

More posters carrying threats against panchayat leaders have appeared in Baramulla areas, sending the institution deeper into fear.

The handwritten bills signed the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, found pasted on walls and electric poles, have asked panchayat members to quit by the end of this month, warning of dire consequences otherwise.

Significantly, the United Jehad Council, the Muzaffarabad-based  alliance of militant groups refrained from interfering with panchayat elections held last year.

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