Kashmir police begin looking at security for panches under threat

 Amid “death threats” to panchayat members by terrorists, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have started ‘threat perception assessment’ of sarpanches and panches across the state.

Sources told Deccan Herald that all district superitendents of police have been asked to carry out the exercise within shortest possible time.

Profiling

“The station house officers (SHOs) will have a detailed profile of sarpanches, panches and defeated candidates and report it to their SPs. Besides it would also be seen how vulnerable the area is,” sources said.

A senior police official said during the profiling it would be assessed whether a panchayat representative belongs to majority or minority community.

“It will help the law enforcing agencies to assess the rivalry angle of the panchayat representatives in the respective areas,” he said.

He added the profiling of the defeated candidates will help police to assess whether there is any threat to the winning candidates from them.

Militancy prone areas would witness round-the-clock patrolling by police and other security agencies operating there, sources said.

“In case the area is extremely vulnerable, a mixed component of police and paramilitary force will be stationed. After the assessment of all these factors, the SP would recommend whether any sarpanch and panch should be provided security individually,” they added.

Minister of state for home Nasir Aslam Wani confirmed that the assessment process has been started.

“Every measure is being taken to instill a sense of security among the panchayat representatives,” he said.

More than 1,000 panches and sarpanches have resigned in the last three days following fresh death threats from Pakistan occupied Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

Over 800 village council members have tendered their resignations since the elections were held last year in the state after a gap of 33 years.

At least five panchayat members have been shot dead by the terrorists since 2011.
Despite death threats, Union as well as state governments have made it clear that they cannot provide security to all the panches and sarpanches in J&K.

Agreeing with the state government’s stand on the issue, panchayati raj minister V Kishore Chandra Deo on Tuesday said providing security to all pachayat leaders was not possible, “but they should be given powers to perform.”

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