Terming sarpanch election as un Islamic, Lashkar e teyeba, Hizbul Mujahideens and Jaish e Muhammad through a pamphlet campaign brought a fatwa, asking Sarpanches in J & K to resign. The sarpanches did not give in to the threat until, Mohammad Shafi Teli, a panch was gunned down. Till date four sarpanches have been killed by militants in north Kashmir, Baramulla region. Latest killing was of Mohammad Shafi Teli, a panch, who was shot in Kreeri area on Sunday. Following this around 200 Sarpanches in the valley have put in resignations through paid advertisements in the local news papers. Each advertisement says that they are resigning due to personal reasons, and would no longer be associated with politics. These resignations are mostly in north Kashmir. Sarpanch elections were held last year after a gap of 30 years.
Earlier, posters were found plastered all over the busy market areas in many towns of north Kashmir, exhorting sarpanchs to resign from their posts or face dire consequences. These were from various militant outfits operating in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir government has said it will strengthen the security measures for Sarpanches and panches in the state. Will this step enough for the well being? Enough for the democracy? Enough for our soverign nation and its state to meekly take some cosmetic action when the problem is somewhere else?
This problem is not local for the government at the center not to take any cognizance of such a happening. It has got national bearing. At this juncture stern action is required to be taken not only by state govt but actively assisted by central government. The message to the world should be such that democracy is firmly rooted in J&K. if the Central govt does not take rapid action, it will be seen as a weakeness and democracy would become a farce in J&K. Atleast this is what world will perceive. If neglected these separatist forces will become emboldened and their next move would be to target MLAs and MPs.