NC, PDP At Loggerheads Over Panch, Sarpanch Killings

Srinagar – Kashmir’s ruling National Conference (NC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday blamed each other for the recent series of killings of elected village heads in the valley.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah had recently blamed indigenous and Pakistan-based militant groups for the attacks.

Speaking during the discussion on ‘Killing of Sarpanch and Panch’ in the Legislative Council, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Mohammad Sagar said those Panchayat members who were killed were the supporters of National Conference and their killing would “benefit” a certain party.

Sagar said, “Some people cannot accept that a successful election was held by the NC-led coalition government and are trying to derail the process of empowering people at the grassroots level,” Sagar said adding, “Their (Panchayat members) killing would benefit only those who represent such constituencies.”

The minister’s comments evoked a sharp response from the PDP’s legislator, Murtaza Khan who hinted at the involvement of the NC in the killings of the Panchayat members, which triggered a spree of resignations from their colleagues, saying it served their “interests”.

“They intend to push for a boycott of assembly elections in 2014 and everyone knows who benefits from boycott of elections in the state,” Khan said.

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