Despite repeated attempts by HT, rural development minister Ali Muhammad Sagar was not available for comment on the recent resignations.
Ghulam Mohammad Yatoo, a sarpanch in north Kashmir's Raipora village, was shot dead outside a mosque on Monday evening.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a panch, who resigned in Palhalan on Tuesday, said, "The state government is making us scapegoats for its political interests."
His pessimism is shared by Sultan, a sarpanch from central Kashmir's Chadoora area. "The entire exercise of panchayat polls has been turned into a mockery. No elections have been held for positions in the second and third tiers, even though a year has passed since the elections were held. Panchayats continue to be powerless," he said. He was referring to the tussle between local MLAs and sarpanches over power-sharing in development works.
"The killings of panches and sarpanches are also mysterious as no militant outfit has taken any responsibility," said Sultan.