Srinagar, August 20: A Panchayat body has appealed Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to investigate into the recent killings of Panches, Sarpanches saying there could be a political hand behind these acts.
Moulvi Tariq, who heads the Jammu Kashmir Panch Sarpanch Local Bodies Association, an organization floated to highlight the problems faced by Panchyat members said Panches, Sarpanches, Councilors contested the 2018 Panchayat and ULB elections independently.
“Polls were conducted so that public representatives could work for the welfare of people and provide basic facilities like roads, water, and electricity to people. It was a power of devolution,” Tariq told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) in an interview.
“Even United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin gave a statement that public representatives should not be attacked. Now there is a sudden rise of attacks on Panchayat representatives in the recent past,” he said.
He claimed that a threat is being created to fail the Panchayat system in the valley.
“The elections were conducted smoothly. Why are Panchayat representatives being targeted? We appeal Lieutenant Governor to investigate who is behind these killings. We feel political parties could be behind this,” he claimed.
He said some parties also boycotted the Panchayat and ULB polls. “But they fielded their proxy candidates,” he said.
He said the Panchayat Raj system is being deliberately targeted and some people want to fail it. “These Panchayat representatives should not be linked to any political party. Even militants did not issue any statement asking Panchayat representatives to resign then why are they being targeted,” he asked.
He said those targeting Panchayat representatives are the enemies to the nation. There have been many attacks on Panchayat members in the last few weeks. The Panches, Sarpanches and Councilors live under constant fear and many have fled their homes.
He said funds coming from the Centre for Panchayat Raj are not being released. “Some bureaucrats don’t want to strengthen the Panchayat Raj system in J&K. They don’t want devolution of power. If DDC elections are held then DCs have to work under them which these bureaucrats don’t want. These bureaucrats don’t want them to give proper protocol. Even incumbent Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and former LG G C Murmu have had bureaucrats as their advisors, who enjoy post retirement benefits,” he said.
He has asked the government to provide them (Panchayat representatives) proper security. “They should be provided proper accommodation, security and vehicles so they could work on the ground,” he said.
The Panchayat election in 2018, was largely boycotted in Kashmir. In the Valley out of 20093 Panch and Sarpanch seats, only 6162 Panches and 1366 Sarpanches were elected in the polls while 12565 constituencies have remained vacant. The authorities have failed to conduct elections on these vacant seats.