Panchayati Raj representatives threaten en mass resignation

sarpanch-protestUmar Rashid

SRINAGAR

Holding unionist parties responsible for the killings of Panchayti Raj representatives, dozens of Panchs and Sarpanchs Tuesday set a deadline to probe the latest Sarpanch killings.

They said that if they are considered as an impediment to the resolution of the Kashmir issue, they were ready to resign en-mass.

Panchayat Forum led by its chief Khurshid Ahmad today held a protest at the press enclave and raised slogans against the present dispensation.  They demanded a quick probe into the fresh killings of Panchayat members.

Describing the recent killings as a big human right abuse, the protesters said that the Panchs and Sarpanchs were in the service of mankind.

They asserted that the Panchayat elections in Kashmir were fought on apolitical basis because of which 85% of people voted during the electoral exercise. “The Panchayat elections were not fought to dilute the Kashmir issue,” they said adding, “Kashmir is a disputed territory and we are stakeholders like any other ordinary Kashmiri.”

Accusing the unionist political leaders of incompetence, they advised them to leave the chair. Further exonerating the Militants for killings, they questioned as to why they would kill them.

Invoking the UJC’s statement that Panchayats are meant for development and constructive growth they instead accused the unionist parties for the killings of Panchayat members. “National Conference, Congress, Peoples Democratic Party have murdered us,” they said.

Pertinently 9 Panchayat members have been killed in past three years in Kashmir valley.

The protesting Panchs and Sarpanchs threatened that if the culprits are not brought to book within one week, Panchayat members will resign en-mass and will run a state wide poll boycott campaign.

“We will not allow anyone to stand in forthcoming assembly elections nor will we allow anybody to vote,” they threatened.

Besides they said that the “Panchayat election should not be considered as a referendum on Kashmir, rather such an exercise should be held under the guidance of independent observers”.

They further said that the Panchayats will be utilizing the resources and money for development of the state and in case “they are considered as an impediment to the resolution of Kashmir issue, they will resign en-mass,” they added.

“The Panchayat forum leaders are expected to meet the top notch separatist leadership including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik in the coming days”, they said.

Killings of the Panchayat members in South Kashmir in wake of the recently held parliamentary elections have triggered a fresh wave of protests from the grassroots Panchayti Raj representatives.

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