10 sarpanches killed in Kashmir in last four years

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Jammu, Apr 1: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday said ten sarpanches have been killed and three injured by militants in the Valley in the last four years while 20 resigned following threats from militant outfits.

In a written reply in the state Assembly, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan also said that the state government was sensitive to the issue of safety of panchayat representatives in Kashmir and was taking various measures to instill confidence in them.

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"Six sarpanches were killed and three injured in Baramulla district, while three were killed and two injured in Pulwama. One sarpanch was killed and one injured in Shopian," Khan informed the House.

[J&K: Sarpanch shot dead by suspected militants in Sopore, polling for fifth phase underway]

Besides, the minister said one panch was killed and two others were injured. "In 12 districts of Kashmir, 20 sarpanches and 128 panches have resigned for reasons including threats from militants," he added.

On steps being taken by the government to create a sense of security among sarpanches and panchayat members, Khan said, "The measures being taken include strengthening the security grid, sanitisation of vulnerable areas and working out proper security assessment of panchayat members to provide them security cover, if needed."

He said the government has also been ensuring close coordination and synergy among different agencies on a regular basis, besides intensifying night patrolling by security personnel and area domination in vulnerable areas.

"Regular meetings with sarpanches and panches at district, sub-division and police station levels have been organised to boost their level of confidence. Telephone and mobile numbers of police control rooms have also been provided to panchayat representatives for assistance as and when needed," he said.

Besides these steps, Khan said the elected panchayat representatives have been provided a life insurance cover with full premium amount to be paid by the state government.

PTI

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