A video has gone viral where a woman Sarpanch from Sopore is purportedly seeking forgiveness from militants, saying she will resign.
In the video, the female sarpanch from Sopore Baramulla district is seen saying, “There is SP and SHO’s number in my mobile as some people were harassing me. Please forgive me for the sake of Prophet (PBUH). I am a poor woman. Please forgive me. I will resign.”
A person who is not visible in the video tells her that she is at the age of his mother. “We are leaving you because you are a female,” the person, who is purportedly a militant is seen saying in the video.
SSP Sopore Javeed Iqbal told KINS that they are ascertaining the authenticity of the video.
Recently, Ajay Pandita, a 40-year-old Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch was killed by unidentified gunmen in Anantnag district.
The killing has triggered a fresh fear among Panches and Sarpanches.
“The killing of a Sarpanch clearly indicates how vulnerable we are in Kashmir in absence of security,” a Panch from south Kashmir’s Shopian district told KINS.
“I rarely visit my constituency during the day and have not spent a single night there for over a year. People of my constituency visit me in the hotel,” he says.
Hundreds of Panches and Sarpanches like him have been put up in Srinagar hotels by the government.
Most of the people stayed away from Panchayat polls and more than 60 per cent of the seats remained vacant because there were no candidates.
In the Panchayat election in 2018, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) did not participate over the issue of special status. The election was largely boycotted in Kashmir and over 12,000 Panchayat seats continue to be vacant.
In Kashmir out of 20093 Panch and Sarpanch seats, only 6162 Panches and 1366 Sarpanches were elected in the polls while 12565 posts are yet to be filled.
In Jammu, 15800 Panches and 2289 Sarpanches were elected but even there as many as 166 seats have remained vacant. In Ladakh, 45 seats are vacant where 1414 Panches and 192 Sarpanches were elected.
Ever since the Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has been talking about strengthening grassroots leadership in the new Union Territories.
This is not the first time this is happening with the sarpanch of a village in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch was shot dead by terrorists in Anantnag district. The Resistance Front (TRF), an organization associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for the murder.
The police officer had said that the terrorists killed Sarpanch and Congress member Ajay Pandit of Larkipura area of Anantnag district at 6 pm in his village. He said that Pandit was rushed to the hospital where he died.
After the murder of Ajay Pandit, the sarpanch of a village in southern Kashmir and the local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Kashmiri Pandit Vijay Raina claimed that he could be the next target of terrorists in the valley.
Vijay Raina, besides being the sarpanch of a village, is also a district-level party spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kulgam. He had sought protection from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to provide security to him and other members of the panchayat belonging to other minority communities in the area.