JK panchayats’ body seeks NIA probe into BJP leader’s killing

Jammu, May 8: Sarpanches from parts of Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the killing of BJP’s Anantnag vice-president Gul Mohammed Mir.
Led by their president Anil Sharma during a protest at the exhibition ground here, members of the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) demanded that a case be registered against the officer who ordered the withdrawal of security to the slain BJP leader.
Mir was shot dead by militants inside his house in Anantnag district on May 4.
“We strongly condemn the killing of an elected panchayat member who was working for the welfare of his people at the grassroots level. The government should identify the officer who ordered the withdrawal of his security and register an FIR against him as it was not killing but a murder by the faulty system,” Sharma told reporters.
Criticising the state administration for putting the lives of elected panchayat members at “risk” by withdrawing their security cover, he said it was the need of the hour to hold a high-level NIA inquiry into killings of panchayat members to expose the conspiracy.
“From 2011 to 2016, at least 18 panchayat members were killed while the fresh incident has again created fear among panchayat members who contested the elections last year to strengthen the grassroots-level democracy in the state. The NIA should be entrusted with the task of conducting a detailed inquiry into killings of panchayat members,” he said.
Questioning the Centre and the state government for their arbitrary surrender and rehabilitation policy for militants, Sharma said the government had kept the provision of financial assistance to militants in case they surrendered before the government but “unfortunately there was no policy for the panchayat members who risked their lives and held the Tricolour to strengthen democracy in the state”.
Sharma demanded the framing of a concrete policy for sarpanches and panches and a provision to provide a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the family of any panchayat member getting killed and a job to the next of kin.
“Such measures will restore the faith of panchayat members, who are working under a challenging situation,” he said.