J&K mulls insurance for panchayat members

State govt to pay premium; police, army and CRPF to patrol in sensitive areas

 Amidst the spooky environment of death threats issued against 34,000 elected panches of Kashmir valley by the militant outfits in May this year, the state government is mulling to provide aninsurance cover to all of them.

The sop is being deliberated a few days after Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, outrightly refused to give security cover to each and every panch and sarpanch.  
State Congress president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz who addressed gatherings of panches and sarpanches in north Kashmir on Sunday promised them that the coalition government was steadfast in its commitment to empower the panchayats.

“We are committed to provide honorarium and insurance cover to the panchayat members for which the state government would pay the premium,” Soz said.
He also assured security to the panchayat members saying both coalition partners – National Conference and Congress - would stand behind them and ensure that security  is strengthened.

“I assure you that the coalition government will very soon succeed in obtaining necessary grants for providing honorarium and insurance cover to you,” he added.

Creating  paranoia

Panchayat elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir in April last year after a hiatus of more than three decades. Nearly 34,000 panches and sarpanches were elected in the landmark polls.

However, since then militants have killed several panches and sarpanches creating  paranoia.

Posters were surfaced in May in several areas of north and south Kashmir asking the elected representatives to resign from their posts in defiance of which, they will would face dire consequences.

The state and central governments have directed the police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Army to  patrolling in sensitive areas to ensure the safety of panchayat members.

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