PAMPORE: Many newly elected Sarpanchs in Pulwama district have demanded security from local people, saying they feel insecure while visiting their panchayat constituencies.
Most of these Sarpanchs are migrant Pandits who left long ago and now do not know the people of their constituencies.
They were either elected by a few migrant votes or elected unopposed as no local candidate had filed nomination for the panchayat polls.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Babita Bhat, Sarpanch of Ladhoo village in Pampore, said that she was assured that a Personal Security Officer would be deputed with her, but nothing had materialised as yet.
“I was told over phone that a PSO would be deputed but no one has arrived yet,” she said, adding that no villager approaches her due to fear.
Gunmen had shot dead some days ago the brother of a Sikh Sarpanch in Khasipora Tral area of Pulwama district. The 24-year-old Simranjeet Singh, a resident of Khasipora Tral, was a taxi driver and was apparently shot dead because his brother had contested the panchayat election, despite warnings by militants.
Babita Bhat appealed to the Governor and the Divisional Commissioner to provide her and all other Sarpanchs a police security guard.
Another Sarpanch, Manoj Pandita from Lajoora village of Pulwama, told Kashmir Reader that he wished for cooperation from locals to take forward development projects in the village.
“I not only demand cooperation from the locals but also a way forward to help migrant Pandits in Jammu who supported me during the elections,” he said, adding that development would not take place if the locals did not cooperate.
The newly elected Sarpanchs were here for a four-day training programme which was organised by the district administration in collaboration with Department of Rural Development Department and Panchayati Raj department at the Entrepreneurial Development Institute (EDI).
Last week, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) had urged the state administration to ensure security of sarpanchs and panchs belonging to the Sikh community, especially in south Kashmir.
The four-day training programme at EDI Pampore started on Sunday. The programme was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar.
Addressing the function, the DC Pulwama said it was a beginning towards empowering Sarpanchs. He asked the Sarpanchs to use the expertise gained from this training towards serving the people better.