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Attacks in Kashmir: Over 30 Panchayat members, BJP leaders, workers resign in one week

Raouf Dar

SRINAGAR August 13(KINS): Fearing for their lives, over 30 Panchayat members, leaders and workers of BJP have resigned in the last one week across Kashmir.

This comes after back-to-back attacks on Sarpanches and party workers of the BJP in the last five weeks.

Five BJP leaders have 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.

In the last one week, suspected militants have carried out three attacks on BJP leaders.

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.

Over 30 Panches, Sarpanches, BJP leaders and workers have resigned in the last one week.

Vijay Raina, a BJP Sarpanch of Chowgam in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district said the Panchayat representatives are facing threats.

“Several of our friends have been killed. They were innocent people. Their fault was they were working for the welfare of people. There are some anti-social elements who want to fail the Panchayat system in Kashmir,” Raina told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

He said the government has shifted Panches, Sarpanches, and councilors in security zones. “But what about after August 15. Will the government continuously keep them there? The government has to make a full-proof security mechanism for Panchayat members and provide security for at least those who work on the ground,” he added.

Moulvi Tariq, who heads the Jammu Kashmir Panch Sarpanch Local Bodies Association, an organization floated to highlight the problems faced by Panchyat members, said they met Lieutenant Governor Majoj Sinha on Wednesday.

“Panchayat representatives and councilors met the Lieutenant Governor about development and peace in J&K. We hope all precautionary measures will be taken towards life and security for Panchayat members and councilors,” he told KINS.

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

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

The party has asked the authorities to lodge BJP leaders and workers in safe houses and asked its leaders not to venture out of their homes without security clearance.

Meanwhile, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Farooq Ahmad Khan has 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 added.(KINS)

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