Asif Iqbal Naik , Kishtwar September 28:- The Sarpanches of Kishtwar District today demanded for issuance of licensed weapons to the Panches and Sarpanches of Kishtwar District till the matter related to security issue get resolved. The demand for licensed weapons from Sarpanches came to the forefront during official function organized by District Administration Kishtwar on devolution of powers to Panches and Sarpanches by the government in over 100 Sarpanches from different parts of Kishtwar District participated.
While talking to the media persons on the sideline of the function, Sarpanch Mohammad Iqbal of Patnazi A of Drabshala block of Kishtwar District said in view of prevailing situation in Kashmir valley, that there is a fear psychosis among the local Sarpanches and Panches of Kishtwar District. He said that due to killing of few Panches and Sarpanches in Kashmir valley, Panches and Sarpanches of Kishtwar District feels insecure about his safety and security. He said that all the Sarpanches and Panches of District Kishtwar has already intimated the District Administration about the concern of Panches and Sarpanches and added that today the same massage was again conveyed to the District Administration. He said that many Panches and Sarpanches of Kishtwar District put forth the proposal of issuance of licensed weapons to these newly elected representatives till the matter of providing security to them could be resolved. He said that he along with many other Panches and Sarpanches have applied for gun licenses before District Administration a year ago, but said that all those applications are moving from one office to other office on the name of verification. “District Administration is befooling us on the name of verification—Deputy Commissioner informs us that he had forwarded their applications to SP Kishtwar, while SP informed us that verification of gun licenses is subjected to the clearance from IGP.” Said Mohammad Iqbal. He said that issuing gun licenses in a legalized manner gives the sought of security feelings among the Panches and Sarpanches and it can boast the moral of all the elected representatives that they defend themselves in case of threat to their lives by anti national elements. He said that issuing licensed weapons to Panches and Sarpanches is in no mean an illegal practice. He said that in case the government provides them the security, the gun licensees could be cancelled. He said that entire District Kishtwar is a hilly terrain as compared to Kashmir valley. He said that due to non availability of roads in Kishtwar District, most of the Panches and Sarpanches have to cover the distance by foot to monitor the developmental work. While recounting the threat from anti national elements, Mohammad Iqbal said that some six months ago some anti national elements active in the area issued the threat to Panches and Sarpanches and similarly the matter get resolved with the intervention of SP Kishtwar. He said that police always did not come to their rescue every time. The Sarpanches said that they want to play an important role in implementation of developmental programs at grass root level by participating in them, but said that no one is ready to implement government developmental agenda at the cost and risk to their lives. They said that government has already befooled them on the name of empowerment and said that now the government is making us the scapegoat.
Earlier District Administration organized a program on devolution of powers to Sarpanches at Multipurpose Community Hall of Degree College Kishtwar where Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Saleem Mohammad Chowdhary and Additional Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Jatinder Kumar Singh brief the Sarpanches about the powers given to them under Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act 1989. The District Administration Kishtwar shares the vital information to the Sarpanches about fourteen government departments through power point presentation. On this occasion several officers from RDD, PHE, Agriculture, R & B, etc also remain present. On this occasion question/answer session was also organized by the District Administration. Many Sarpanches flaws the government policy regarding empowerment of Panchayats and termed the devolution of powers of 14 departments as merely eyewash. Sarpanches questions the existence of all these 14 departments at grass root level. The Sarpanches from Marwah area of Kishtwar District demanded for ensuring the existence of these 14 departments in Marwah before the government talks about the devolutions of power to Sarpanches and Panches. The Marwah Sarpanches inform the administration that many government offices designated on the name of Marwah are either absent from the area or the offices functions at District Headquarter. They demanded that the administration before talking about any kind of development in remote area like Marwah and Warwan area must ensure that the government departments must exist on ground. While sighting the example, a local Sarpanch from Warwan makes the mockery of education department who had posted seventeen 4thclass employees for over 250 students of Higher Secondary School Afti, but no lecturer.