New Delhi: Militant threats to panchayat members in Jammu and Kashmir and non-delegation of powers to elected sarpanchs were discussed in the Congress Working Committee meeting on Tuesday, with party general secretary Rahul Gandhi seeking a "serious consideration" of the issue.

CWC member and AICC general secretary in-charge for Punjab and Bihar Gulchain Singh Charak said in the meeting that elected sarpanchs and panchayat members have not been given powers entitled under the Panchayati Raj Act despite more than one-and-half-year since the panchyat elections took place in Jammu and Kashmir.

He pointed that elected panchayat members are also facing militant threats regularly and many of them have been killed.

"At this Rahul Gandhi said that it was a serious matter and required attention," AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said. Party sources said Rahul Gandhi favoured "serious consideration" of the issue.
Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held in April last year after a gap of 34 years.

At least 40 panchayat members have tendered their resignations fearing for their life after the killing of a panch in north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Sunday.

Forty panchs, including three sarpanchs, have submitted their resignations to the J&K government in Baramulla district alone and reports suggest many more are in the offing.

Militants have killed several panchs and sarpanchs since the landmark panchayat polls. Posters have surfaced in many areas of Kashmir, asking the panchs and sarpanchs to resign from their posts or face dire consequences.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would discuss the issue of providing security to panchayat members in the next meeting of Unified Headquarters to ensure their safety.


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