Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has called for a security meet in the wake of yet another attack on a sarpanch in Kashmir - third in the series of latest attacks in 2013 on panchayat representatives by suspected militants. On Saturday, the sarpanch was injured and admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.
Similar attack had taken place on Friday, when a sarpanch, Habibullah Mir, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Srinagar, after he was shot at by suspected militants in Sopore area of Baramulla district in Kashmir. Similarly, Zoona Begum, a woman panch was critically injured by the militants in Hardshiva village, just hours after the attack on Mir.
Mir's family has blamed the Omar government for failing to provide security to the upholders of democracy in the Valley. "Had he been given security, he would not have died," said Posha, Mir's daughter. A deputy sarpanch in Sopore district also claimed lack of security as the biggest reason for committee members' vulnerability to these attacks.
The Sarpanch Association has put the government on notice and is planning to spell out its future plans before the media in Jammu on Monday. However, village committee members are not the only casualties of the attacks. A civilian, Mohammad Shafi, was also killed in Pulwama district by suspected militants.
Series of such targeted attacks against panchayat representatives in the past year has embarrassed the state government even though the issue was taken up briefly by the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. However, nothing seems to have changed in the state which is currently hit by border skirmishes. "The LoC (Line of Control) clashes may resulted in disruption of peace," said SS Sandhu, Inspector-General, Central Reserve Police Force, Operations Kashmir.