Over 1600 panchayat representatives under threat in Kashmir, all to be provided security within 2 days, says BJP leader

Raouf Dar

SRINAGAR, August 19: A senior BJP leader Wednesday said over 1600 Panchayat representatives in Kashmir were under threat and would be provided security within two days.

Panchayat representatives including Panches, Sarpanches, Councilors, BDCs are living under fear after various attacks by suspected militants.

Over 40 panches, sarpanches, and workers of various political parties especially those affiliated with the BJP have resigned in the last two weeks.

Senior BJP leader Sofi Yusuf said they had a meeting with Lieutenant Governor, Chief Secretary and DGP about the security to Panchayat representatives.

“Over 1600 panches, sarpanches, BDCs are under threat. They will be provided proper security within two days,” Yusuf told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

“They will be provided accommodation at district headquarters. Whenever they have to go to the field, policemen along with vehicles will escort them,” he added.

J&K BJP General Secretary Ashok Koul has also written a letter to party’s national president J P Nadda and sought safe accommodation for the party leaders in every district of Kashmir.

“No BJP leader should venture out without security clearance. Top brass in the police should work out a plan with concerned DCs to ensure the security and safety of BJP leaders,” BJP Kashmir unit said in a recent statement.

There have been over six attacks on BJP leaders and Panchayat members in the last six weeks. Five BJP leaders have also been killed since July 8 in the valley.

On July 8, Waseem Bari, a BJP leader along with his father and brother who too were associated with the party were killed outside their home in north Kashmir Bandipora district.

On August 8, a BJP leader Abdul Hamid Najar in central Kashmir’s Budgam district was attacked while he was on morning walk. Later he succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

Similarly, on August 5, suspected militants shot dead BJP Sarpanch Sajad Ahmad Khanday in Qazigund area of south Kashmir. While a BJP Sarpanch Arif Ahmad was shot at, leaving him critically injured.

These attacks have created a fear among political workers, panches, sarpanches, and councilors in the valley. Many have fled their homes.

A Sarpanch from south Kashmir said security and accommodations were issues for Panchayat members and councilors.

“99 percent have no security. We have already told the government to provide security to those who are working on the ground,” he said.

The Sarpanches recently told the Lieutenant Governor they were feeling insecure in view of recent attacks.

Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Farooq Ahmad Khan recently said the security agencies and administration was working to stop killings of Panches and Sarpances in Kashmir.

“Some people don’t want Panchayat representatives to work for the welfare of people. The attackers will be punished,” he said.(KINS)

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