As Panchs Quit In Droves, Centre Say No To Security

SRINAGAR - As Panchayat members in Kashmir continued their 'resignation' spree through paid advertisements in vernacular press here, days after Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin issued a fresh warning to them, Centre today ruled out any individual security to the vulnerable lot saying it was not possible.

Meanwhile the state government maintained that it has not received any formal resignations from the Panchayat leaders. 

Around 60 Panches and Sarpanches have made their resignations public through paid advertisements in local Urdu dailies here citing threat to their life as the reason for the resignations. 

The fresh resignations through these advertisements have taken the total to nearly 800. However, authorities maintain that they have received only 50 resignations since the landmark elections were held last year after a gap of nearly three decades. 

Hundreds of Panchayat members announced their resignations through advertisements following killing of a deputy Sarpanch in Pattan area of Baramulla district in the second week of September this year. 

Dozens more quit after militants issued a fresh threat in the third week of September. 

Hizb supremo, Salahuddin, in an interview to weekly news magazine 'Tehelka' had said Panchayat members will be targeted in future as the government was projecting Kashmiris as pro-India. 

"Panches and Sarpanches are exploited by India to project Kashmir as pro-India, and as such they will continue to be targeted. No matter how much government tries to secure them, they will still be attacked," Salahuddin said in the interview. 

Centre Says No Security

In the backdrop of fear gripping sarpanchs,  Union Panchayati Raj Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo Tuesday agreed with the state government's stand that it was not possible to provide security to all of them but said they should be given powers to perform.

He said he has been writing to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in this regard and had recently sent his Additional Secretary to Srinagar for the same purpose.

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