Govt Made Us Irrelevant: Panchs

‘Politicians behind killing of Sarpanchs, Panchs’

SRINAGAR: A body of village heads on Thursday slammed state government for allegedly making Panchayats irrelevant and announced that it would hold district-wise protests against the policies of government.

Addressing a press conference here, the president of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference Shafiq Mir along with body’s district heads alleged that PDP-BJP government has done nothing for the Panchayats of the state. They said that the government, instead of empowering them, has dominated them and limited their role.

“Unlike previous government, the government has made us irrelevant by limiting our role. It broke education committees. Our work was to handle developmental issues and resolve local level issues. But the government has made us irrelevant. We are respectable ones in our areas and we were elected because of our fate and credibility,” they said.

The Panchayat members said that their role has been limited to the construction of drains and bunds. They said that former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had intended to empower Panchayat members but MLAs “sabotaged” his move.

Mohammad Shafi Mir, a sarpanch from Kupwara district blamed politicians for the killings of 13 Sarpanchs and Panchs in the valley. “They were martyred for none of their fault. It is politicians who killed them. We want justice for them,” they said. “Recently, a ReT teacher from Kupwara died mysteriously in Bemina area of Srinagar city. Later the Minister of the area Abdul Haq Khan gave Rs 35000 as relief to next of his kin. But what has this government done for us?” Mir asked.

The Panchayat members while taking on the government said it has failed flood victims as well as village representatives. “We cooperated with government during floods. But neither flood victims were rehabilitated nor were we.”

Announcing that the Panchayat members would start district-wise protests, they said that the first protest would be held at Budgam. “If the government doesn’t break its silence now, we will come on roads and expose it,” they added. (GNS)

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