19 More Panchayat Representatives ‘Resign’

Slam Govt For ‘Linking Polls With Kashmir’
Srinagar, Jan 15: Belying repeated assurances of the Jammu and Kashmir Government to “protect their lives,” at least 19 more Panchayat representatives from north Kashmir’s Sopore area tendered their resignations Tuesday, albeit unofficially.

The Panchayat representatives, mainly Panchs, appeared before the media in Srinagar as well as in Sopore to claim that they are resigning from their positions.
This morning four Panchs from Dooru village of Sopore appeared in Press Enclave here and claimed to have tendered their resignation. “We have come here to inform general public including militants that we are severing all ties with the mainstream parties. We were used by rulers for their ends. At the time of contesting elections, we were told that polls have nothing to do with Kashmir issue. But after the elections ended, the Government of India and State Government left no stone unturned to link them with Kashmir issue, thus making our lives vulnerable,” the Panchs, including a female, stated.
The Panchayat representatives minced no words in castigating the State Government for “humiliating them.” “Why shouldn’t we quit from our positions? Even we have been let down by the Rural Development Department. The official of the Department demand bribe from us whenever we approached them to redress our problems related to basic amenities in our respective localities,” they alleged.
In the afternoon, 15 more Panchs, reportedly tendered their resignation in Sopore before the media.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Khawaja Ghulam Ahmad said only one Panchayat representative has put in his resignation papers.
“It is for the Government to decide whether it will accept his resignation or not,” he said and added that resignation tendered through media is not legally valid.
The fresh mass resignation comes even as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that his Government is committed to secure the Panchayat representatives.
The CM even chaired a high level security meeting on Sunday evening in the summer capital to discuss security of Panchayat representatives.
Pertinently, 40 Panchayat representatives have resigned before the media in the past two days after unidentified gunmen killed a Sarpanch and critically injured a woman Panch in two separate attacks in Sopore last week.
Since last year, the killing of Panchayat representatives has led to resignation of hundreds of Sarpanchs and Panchs across the Valley since the holding of elections last year. About six Sarpanchs and Panchs have been killed and several others injured in separate attacks across the state since the polls.
However, Jammu and Kashmir Government maintains that it had not accepted anybody’s resignation.

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