Militants Didn't Target Panchayat Members: CM

Militants Didn't Target Panchayat Members: CM

5 January 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said militants were not responsible for the attack on Panchayat members and instead surrendered and released militants killed and threatened them. While speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the function of a Rural Development Department at Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Srinagar here, Omar said: 'In all these cases we found that the militancy was not the cause. There was actually personal issue in which either surrender or released militants were being used.' He, however, said that Government will not afford to let its guard down on the security to Panchayats. He said that he assured Panchs and Sarpanchs that Government will do everything to make Panchayat members and their functioning secure. Omar said that a lot of effort has gone in to restore the sense of security among the Panchs and Sarpanchs. 'There were handful of unfortunate incidents in which 3 elected representatives lost their life', he added. He said that police was quick in solving these cases, identifying the culprits and taking necessary action against those who targeted these Panchayat members. On the formation of stringent law on rape, Omar said that Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) needs a review and where ever there is need for making law stringent it will be made. The Chief Minister said that the stringent laws will not make much of a difference unless mind set of the men towards women changes. 'As long as men believe they can prey on women without any consequence law can't do anything. The mindset has to change from home, it has to change from family. Once we start respecting women in our families, we will respect women as a whole', he added. Earlier in his address to Panchs and Sarpanchs, Omar announced fast track recruitment of 80,000 educated youth in Government service through service selection agencies within next few months. He said that the employment generation in Government and private sectors has been priority of his Government. 'We have already set in motion a mechanism to fill up vacancies in Government departments as fast as possible', he added. Omar said his Government will make provision in the next year's Budget for stipend and insurance cover of Sarpanchs and Panchs irrespective of getting any financial support from the Centre in this regard. 'This is likely to involve Rs 100 crores annually', he added. He said that State Government has taken up this issue with the Centre for funds. Omar said that powerful and effective Panchayat Raj system in the State is his Government's commitment and every effort would be made to realize this goal. He said that the success of Panchayat system is the success of his Government. 'Jammu and Kashmir is a State which cannot be governed from the Secretariat but by the grass root level democratic institutions representing aspirations of the people', he said. 'We have moved forward with a commitment to create a powerful Panchayat system in the State and have transferred the services of 14 departments to these institutions while transfer of many more powers are in the pipeline', Omar added. He asked the newly elected MLCs from Panchayat quota to keep close rapport with Panchs and Sarpanchs and oversee the utilization of powers entrusted to Panchayats at block and village levels. He said Legislative Council Members representing Panchayats should highlight the areas requiring intervention in ensuring utilization of powers by the Panchayats in the development process. Referring to the development registered in the State during the last four years of Coalition Government, Omar said that on this day four years back NC-Congress Coalition Government pledged to work together to seek peace and prosperity in the State. 'We worked sincerely towards achieving this goal and the impact of our endeavour is visible on ground whether opposition would like to see it or not', Chief Minister said adding that opposition parties have developed the mindset to deny the achievements of ruling parties. 'Our report card is before the people and they will judge us by our performance. We are not ones who will sign their own APRs. We will ask the people to go through our performance and give their verdict in next elections in 2014', Omar said.