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100 more village heads announce resignation in Kashmir

September 26, 2012 16:27 IST

Despite assurances by the Jammu and Kashmir government, over 100 more terror-stricken panches and sarpanches announced their resignations through paid advertisements in the valley.

The panches and sarpanches, mostly hailing from north Kashmir's Baramulla district, announced their resignations through paid advertisements in local dailies.

Almost all those who have announced their resignations claimed that they are resigning due to personal reasons.

"I...am resigning from the post of panch/sarpanch on personal grounds. From today, I will have no connection with any political party or Panchayati system. This is for the information of all," the advertisements published in several Urdu dailies read.

Authorities on Tuesday confirmed receipt of almost 40 resignations of panches and sarpanches in Baramulla district alone after the killing of their colleague on Sunday but preferred silence about the total number of grass root level representatives quitting the job so far. 53 panches had on Tuesday announced their resignations through local dailies.

"We do not have the exact figures right now but we are collecting the number of resignations tendered by panches and sarpanches since Sunday," an official of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department told PTI.

As per the paid advertisements in the local dailies, nearly 200 panches and sarpanches have announced their resignations fearing for their lives during the past two days.

Admitting that the resignations have been triggered by the killing of the grass root level representatives, the official said resignations announced before media or in Mosques will not be considered and panches will have to follow the due procedure if they want to resign.

Two panches were killed by suspected militants in as many weeks in Pattan area of Baramulla, the latest victim being Mohammad Shafi Teli, a panch, who was shot in Kreeri area on Sunday.

Militants have killed several panchs and sarpanchs since the landmark panchayat polls were held in the state last year after a gap of 30 years.

Posters have surfaced in many areas of Kashmir since early this year, asking the panchs and sarpanchs to resign from their posts or face dire consequences.

Jammu and Kashmir government has said it will strengthen the security measures for sarpanches and panches in the state.

"We have directed the home commissioner and the director general of police to take whatever measures are required to ensure security of the panches and sarpanches," Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar had said.

Sagar said there were some elements who were against strengthening of democracy and democratic institutions in the state but the government is committed to foil their nefarious designs.

On Monday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he would discuss the issue of providing security to panchayat members in the next meeting of Unified Headquarters to ensure their safety and smooth functioning.
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