In view of recent killing of a sarpanch in Kashmir, elected Sarpanches and Panches on Sunday demanded security cover in militancy-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We condemn the killing of village Palhalan sarpanch and demand security for the elected members in the areas affected with militancy," Kulbhushan Khajuria, working president, All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Coordination Committee (AJKPCC) here told reporters.
"The brutal killing of elected representatives is a murder of democracy," he said, adding that so far seven Panchayat members have been killed, since about 33,000 members were elected in 2011 polls held after a gap of almost three decades.
"The government ignored the security concern besides safety of the Sarpanches and Panches in vulnerable areas that has led to the repeated killings," he added.
He however, said the MLAs, MLCs, bureaucrats and even political workers are provided security cover but panches and sarpanches have no security cover despite the fact that they are performing their duties, risking their lives.
"Some vested interests are trying to give wrong impression that sarpanches and panches belong to a particular political group but it is not the fact as they do not represent any party," he said.
He said it is high time for the government to put in a strong mechanism to restore the confidence among the saddling member, "if immediate steps are not taken, the panchayat members would tender their resignations as about 500 members had already resigned following threats from militants."