Srinagar, Jan 13: As many as 28 sarpanches (village council chiefs) and panches (council members) from Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district Sunday said they had resigned from their posts due to threats to their lives.
A total of 22 sarpanches and panches, from Sopore area of Baramulla, told media persons they were resigning their positions because of threats from separatist militants, while six others from the same area sent their resignation letters to the widely-circulated ‘Greater Kashmir’ daily to be published as paid advertisements in Monday’s issue.
A sarpanch at Bomai village near Sopore town was killed by separatist militants on Friday while another panch, a woman belonging to Harda Shiva village of the same area, was critically injured in another militant attack Saturday.
Doctors in Sopore had referred the injured panch to the super specialty Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura (SKIMS) here. Attending doctors say she is still in critical condition.
Panchayat elections were held after 30 years across Jammu and Kashmir in 2011. Despite threats from the separatists, an overwhelming majority of voters turned out in the rural areas to elect their representatives.
Since their elections, thousands of elected village representatives have been seeking security cover. The state government maintains that individual security to every sarpanch and panch is not possible, but individual security to some of them based on threat perceptions was being considered besides domination of areas where guerrillas are still believed to be operating.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah arrived here earlier Sunday to take stock of the security situation in the wake of attacks on the village representatives.