Jammu and Kashmir government is probing whether the recent killings of panchayat members were carried out by militants or resulted from personal enmity and criminal nexus.
In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh said, "As per information received from the state government, two sarpanchs (Kulgam and Baramulla) and one panch (Baramulla) have been killed by unknown gunmen in incidents of violence against the elected representatives of Panchayats."
He said investigation is on to unravel the truth as to whether the killings of panchayat members were related to militancy or there was some criminal nexus or personal enmity behind the incidents.
"State government has taken measures to ensure safety of elected representatives of panchayats which includes night patrolling by security forces and domination of area, perceived to be vulnerable to such attacks. All specific reports about threats to Sarpanchs/Panchs are being attended by state police," Singh said.
Panchayat elections were held in the state earlier this year after more than three decades and as many as 35,000 Panches and Sarpanches were elected.
In August this year, posters claiming to be that of a terror group were pasted in some parts of the Valley asking the panches to quit. However, the police was not sure whether the posters were a handiwork of some terror group or miscreants.