In the wake of the fresh militant attacks on Panchayat members in Jammu and Kashmir, around 22 panches and sarpanches of the Baramulla district on Sunday tendered their resignations citing "threats to their lives".
The panches and sarpanches from Hardshiva A and B and Yemberzalwari halqas of Sopore area in the district announced their resignations in the presence of the media in Srinagar.
"We have submitted our resignations and we mean it this time," said Bilal Ahmad Dar, a sarpanch in Hardshiva.
He said that in all 22 sarpanches and panches of the Hardshiva area in Sopore had submitted their resignations.
"We fear for our lives...and are therefore resigning," said Manzoor Ahmad Rather, a sarpanch from Hardshiva Sopore.
He said the fresh attacks on Panchayat members in Sopore have created a sense of fear among the members who are now opting for resignations, and have accused the government of not taking adequate measures to protect them.
Talking to rediff.com, Dar said that 'we had participated in these elections primarily to serve our own people'.
"We agreed to participate in these polls on non-party basis. However, the government later politicised our participation."
He said the village representatives of Sopore area 'had never sought any security' as 'our intention was to serve our own people and we never felt threatened while working in the field among our own people'.
Manzoor Ahmad, another sarpanch, said that the two attacks in quick succession that left a Sarpanch dead and a woman Panch wounded has 'led to grave insecurity among the elected village representatives' of Sopore area.
"Even our families are feeling threatened and we have submitted our resignations."
Suspected militants on Friday shot dead a sarpanch, Habibullah Mir at Goripora village in Sopore town, 52 kms from Srinagar, while a woman panchayat member Zoonaa Begum was shot and injured inside her house at Hardshiva Sopore last night.
Panchayat members in Kashmir have been demanding security from the state government since last year after such similar incidents.
With Agency Inputs