Close on the heels of posters appearing in some parts of south Kashmir, asking sarpanches and panches to resign, a numberdar and his family escaped unhurt after gunmen attacked his house with automatic weapons in Kulgam district.
However, law and rural development minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, sensing some foul play, said police has been asked to investigate into the attacks on sarpanches and panches by unidentified gunmen in the valley.
Reports said posters have appeared in different parts of the Kashmir valley, particularly in south Kashmir, asking sarpanches and panches to resign.
The panchayat elections in the state were held after more than three decades last year and state government has empowered panchayats with powers of 14 vital departments.
However, it is being alleged that some officials within the administration at village and district levels are not happy with empowering the panchayats.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah has recently given 15 days time to administration to give full powers to panchayats in the state.
A number of sarpanches and panches have been shot at and injured, mostly in the legs, in the valley since the government made the announcement to empower the panchayats.
Official sources said it was not immediately clear whether the posters, which appeared in the valley, were actually issued by militant organisations or someone else to keep the sarpanches and panches away from day-today work of administration.
They said unidentified gunmen fired towards the house of a numberdar Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat at village Gaffabal in south Kashmir Kulgam district. However, Bhat and his family members escaped unhurt in the incident.
However, during the past one week, three firing incidents took place in south Kashmir district of Pulwama in which one person was killed and three others were wounded.
Sagar said chief minister Omar Abdullah has asked director general of police to get all cases of attacks on sarpanches and panches investigated so that those involved are brought to book.