Srinagar: In a scathing attack on government, Umesh Talashi, a Sarpanch, from south Kashmir’s Anantnag, said, post election process in 2018, GoI never took any effective measures in safeguarding interest and even lives of Sarpanches across Jammu and Kashmir UT.
Ever since Article 370 was read down in J&K on August 5, 2019, the security cover of many people, including sarpanchs, have been withdrawn. Even sarpanchs who were elected during the 2018 panchayat elections were not given any individual security cover and were made to stay in select hotels of J&K, guarded by security forces 24×7. “Repeated demands to provide security to sarpanchs are never taken seriously by the government, leading to more panic now,” Umesh said.
According to Umesh, local body representatives are now utterly disillusioned with both the central and the UT government, which, they said, have left them “to die”.
“The verbal promises of powers given to Sarpanches are nothing except a joke. Sarpanches are never taken seriously even by administration, even at the time when there are no other public reps working for development of masses other than PRIs,” he alleged.
Talking about security, accommodation or their say in administration, everything is taken for granted. It seems that Govt just wanted to show that Panchayat elections were held successfully in Kashmir, to gather appreciations, however people who contested where just made scapegoats. The key issue of many unnotified Sarpanches , who are deprived of powers has not been addressed yet.If everything is to be done by BDOs in unnotified areas, where Sarpanches have no Panches, then it is better for those Sarpanches to simply resign.Risking lives they contested elections and now they have no powers left which is unacceptable.Time and again we have said Panchayt Sect and Sarpanch should be authorized signatory in unnotified halqas but a deaf ear was turned to this concern.
“The central government says it wants Kashmiri pandits to come back to the Valley but how will that happen if they fail to provide security to them,” asked Umesh.
He urged the Govt of India to take some stern steps in addressing these issues otherwise hundreds of Sarpanches and Panches will resign from their post, and Govt will be held responsible for this walk out which is not a good thing.Govt of India needs to support and win the confidence of grass root level works however unfortunately so far they have miserable failed in winning hearts. If we continue to get such suffering from every corners ,we have no other option left than to call it a day.