JK Govt. apathy to blame for panch killings: Mehbooba

Srinagar, January 12 (Scoop News) –Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) president today visited Bumai, Spore to condole the death of the late Sarpanch Habibullah Mir of Goripora. Accompanied by the local party leader Dr Shehzad Aasim she conveyed her sympathies and solidarity to the bereaved family.

Mehbooba told the family and the large number of people gathered there that innocent killings had no place in a civil zed society and her party strongly condemned such incidents. She prayed for the peace of the departed soul and participated in Fatiha.

The PDP president said it was unfortunate that the government had put the lives of elected members of village bodies in jeopardy through its selfish  and narrow minded policies. She said the society that elected them would have been the strongest security for the panches and sarpanches if the government had empowered them sufficiently to perform and bring benefits of panchayati raj to people. "Instead of doing that the government used panchayat elections as a slogan of achievement and panches as audience for party functions. They also used them for the purpose of providing a few unemployed politicians jobs in the legislative council, promised them moon and abandoned them."

Calling upon the government to come out with investigation reports of the half a dozen village representatives killed so far, Mehbooba said it is not enough for the chief minister to dub these killings as ‘local conspiracies’ and forget about them. She said if there were any conspiracies involved why doesn’t government come out with full details? "The victims have been peace loving respected members of the society and the government cannot escape accountability for their killing if it is not able to unravel the perpetrators even after claiming that these were the result of conspiracies" she said. She added that the coalition government thought it could get away with any crime after the 120 killings of 2010 and Haji Yusuf death and was treating the killing of panchayat members also with arrogance of power.

Mehbooba said the chief minister had stated that security would be provided to panches and sarpanches at least in the areas where the threat perception suggested it. Like all his announcements this one too has turned out to be false she said but the attacks on panches cannot be reduced to non events by attributing them to routine village level conspiracies without the government offering a response.

Mehbooba said the government having failed on all fronts has created an atmosphere of mistrust and crisis of credibility for all state institutions. The panchayats too are not able to escape that stigma and their disempowerment has only made the lives of panchayat members more vulnerable. She said in spite of receiving huge funds from the central government the state has failed to provide remuneration to the panches and sarpanches. Those funds are utilised only for the luxuries of the rulers and organising undeserved celebrations and propaganda campaigns of non existing achievements, she said.