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Saturday, Dec 04, 2021
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kashmir: panchayats

The Shallow Graves Of Lot

The threat of violence and New Delhi’s continued neglect could pull out J&K’s democracy by its roots

The Shallow Graves Of Lot
Waseem Andrabi
The Shallow Graves Of Lot
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The Trail Of Blood

  • In May 2011, Jaswant Singh, newly elected sarpanch of Chak Salariavillage in Samba district was killed.
  • In February 2012, Gulzar Ahmad Dar, sarpanch of Hawoora-Misshipora village, Kulgam district, was gunned down. (left) Mourners at his funeral.
  • On September 10, Ghulam Mohammad Yatoo, sarpanch of Raipora village was killed by unknown gunmen
  • On September 23, naib-sarpanch Mohammad Shafi Teli killed in Nowpora village. Police say personal enmity.

***

The security of citizens in a militancy-battered state where tens of thousands have been killed in a bloody separatist conflict is ‘Political Science 101’: an elementary fundamental of governance. In 2011, India’s efforts to establish ‘grassroots’ democracy in Jammu & Kashmir—where 72 per cent of the population lives in rural areas—reached fruition. The state’s first “real” panchayat elections in 33 years saw 79 per cent of its 5.07 million registered electorate defy separatist calls for boycott and cast their vote. By electing 4,130 sarpanches and 29,719 panches, rural Kashmiris sent an unmistakable message to Islamabad: whatever the nature of its relationship with New Delhi, they envisaged their future in India, not Pakistan.

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