New Delhi: Expressing concerns over the killing of three sarpanchs in Jammu and Kashmir, the panchayat representatives of the state on Thursday met Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi seeking security and more empowerment for them.

"Security is our prime concern. We raised the issue of security of elected panchs and sarpanchs with Gandhi in order to seek his support and implementation of the security set up for us," convenor of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference Shafiq Mir told reporters.

Three sarpanchs were killed by militants due to failure of the security, Mir said, adding this grass-root level democratic set up is being demoralised.

"We also took up the issue of implementation of 73rd amendment of the Panchayati Raj Act in the state and asked Gandhi to personally intervene into the issue to facilitate implementation of the act so that the panchayati raj system is fully empowered," he said.

There are 33,000 elected members of panchayats in the state and most of them are demoralised due to the "step-motherly" treatment of the state government, he alleged.

Mir also sought Rs 20 lakh compensation to the next kin of the slain sarpanchs.

(Agencies)

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