Terrorist forces 400 panchayat members to resign in Kashmir
By Rizwan Khatik - Sun Jun 24, 1:41 pm
Srinagar: More than 400 panchayats have quit in the last three weeks in Southern Kashmir following threats from militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The group had issued a warning all across the region, “Those who don’t listen to our diktats will do so at their own peril.”
The sarpanchs have been asked to resign in week’s time and publish their resignation in newspapers and carry those newspapers as a proof along with them said a villager.
Following the diktat, paid advertisement appeared in regional newspapers in Srinagar.
There has been spruce in militant activity in the past couple of months in South Kashmir, incidents of attacks on police personals, theft of arms and ammunitions have been reported from the region.
Police say security forces have increased vigil to instill confidence among the people; they are also investigating if the poster threat is some foul play under the grab of militancy.
The police is not taking any chances they have heightened the vigil and they are also looking at the possibility of foul play under the grab of militancy.
“We need to get to the bottom of it to know why it is happening… there’s possibly more to it than meets the eye,” said SM Sahai, IGP, Kashmir.
The government has not received any formal resignation from the sarpanchs but they have taken steps to ensure the security of panchayats members.
“Some four people have been arrested who are suspected to have issued threats and they have attacked one Sarpanch who is admitted in the hospital. This (panchayats) has a massive mandate from public, they (militants) can’t go against the sentiment of people,” said Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Law & Panchayat Raj.
Last year, Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir had recorded a historic turnout of over 80 percent. The Panchayat elections were held in Kashmir after a gap of three decades.
Over the last one year, panchayats in J&K have been struggling for their rights, demanding more powers for local governance. But after recent militant threats it’s a struggle for survival for panchayat members in parts of south Kashmir. Ironically, even after overwhelming participation by the people in Panchayat elections just a year ago, the grassroots democracy is once again at crossroads in Kashmir.