‘Scapegoats to Show Democracy Exists Here’: No Oath for Sarpanchs in Pulwama 4 Months After Polls
These sarpanchs, who came into the election fray at the time when their life was under threat, have no Panch to complete the quorum.
Image for representation. (Getty Images)
Pulwama: Twenty-eight ‘Sarpanchs’ from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which is the most restive area of the Valley, have threatened to resign as they are yet to take oath, nearly four months after they were elected.
These sarpanchs, who came into the election fray at the time when their life was under threat, have no Panch to complete the quorum. As per rules, a Sarpanch can take oath after he has at least one Panch.
“If this was the case they should have told us at the time of elections that we cannot take the oath,” said Sajid Raina, elected Sarpanch from Arihal village of Pulwama.
“Since we were elected no one called us for oath taking and when we approached officials we were told that we are not eligible to take the oath” Raina, who is representing these Sarpanchs, said.
These Sarpanchs feel that they were “used” by the government to “show that elections can be held in Kashmir.”
“Huge promises were made to us by the government. District officials would give us tremendous respect when we agreed to submit forms but now the same officials are mocking us,” said Raina.
News18 contacted secretary to the state government, but the official was not available for the comment. The story will be updated once officials respond.
There is a persistent militant threat on these Panchayat members. Most of them have fled from their villages and are living in government provided accommodations.
“We left our families and contested elections playing with our lives only to strengthen grassroot democracy but we have been made scapegoats,” said Raina, who is a political science PhD graduate.
These Panchayat members are not receiving any sort of salary or government benefits.
“This is a cruel joke played on us to show the world democracy exists here. Who stood in the shadow of gun and decided to participate in the elections,” said Raina.
In past years, a number of panchayat members have been killed in Kashmir by militants for participating in the elections.
Raafiya Jaan, is another Sarpanch from Tral area of the district. She is living in government accommodation in Srinagar but her family was attacked twice back home.
“Grenade was lobbed at our house twice for me being a Sarpanch but the irony is that I am not one technically,” she told News18.
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