Panchs Seek K-resolution

26 June 2014
Greater Kashmir
Ishfaq Naseem

Srinagar: A large number of Sarpanchs and Panchs today pitched for the resolution of Kashmir issue, asking New Delhi not to put their lives at risk by dragging them into politics. The Sarpanchs and Panchs who attended a convention here today organized by Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) unanimously adopted a resolution seeking resolution of the Kashmir issue. General Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Association, Khurshid Ahmed Malik, said, 'We contested elections to ensure improvement in economic conditions of the people. Our areas were lacking in infrastructure, which is the reason we were forced to contest. We continue to suffer, the rural areas are still lacking in roads and schools and we don't have even clean water available for drinking. But we have been dragged into politics which has put our lives at risk.' Malik added: 'New Delhi should resolve Kashmir issue. Unless India accepts Kashmir as a dispute, there can't be peace in South Asia.' A Sarpanch of Kunzer, Ghulam Geelani, said, 'Government has failed to provide us adequate security and it couldn't prevent the attacks on us.' Another Panch said the state government has 'been putting road-blocks in our functioning as we have been trying to expose corruption in public offices.' He added, 'Political parties have been organizing functions to portray that we are affiliated with them. We didn't contest on tickets of political parties and have nothing to do with politics. For us, all parties be it National Conference, Congress or PDP are alike. Due to the politicization of the development process, many of our members were killed for no fault of theirs.' Sarpanch Ghulam Ahmed Bhat said the government has left Panchayat institutions defunct and they were never empowered. Speaking on the occasion, Kashmir Economic Alliance Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Khan, said, 'We welcome Panchs and Sarpanchs in our fold. We are strengthened after they have joined our cause to bring about economic development here.' Khan also opposed the government move to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in separate colonies. 'There is no need to isolate the Kashmiri Pandits by establishing separate colonies. Our Pandit brethren should be rehabilitated with us rather than in separate colonies.'