Grassroots democracy threatened in the valley
The LET wants the state’s sarpanches to quit. But the lack of remuneration and functional power is already doing the trick, says
LAST APRIL’S panchayat elections in Jammu & Kashmir that saw an 80 percent voter turnout heralded the muchdelayed empowerment of grassroots democracy in the state. But a year later, around 34,000 elected village representatives are staring at an uncertain future, caught between a government that doesn’t empower them, and a fragile security situation where they are sitting ducks for militants or gunmen.
One such incident took place last month when posters purportedly signed by the Lashkar-e-toiba ( LET) went up across Pulwama district in south Kashmir, asking the panches and sarpanches to resign within a week, failing which they would become the LET’S “legitimate targets”.
“The Kashmir issue has persisted for the last six decades and is now echoing across the world. But the government is using you as
• False dawn More than 80 percent of the population in J&K took part in last year’s panchayat polls