Militancy related incidents and PRI members

To instil confidence in thousands of members of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Jammu and Kashmir, there must be slew of measures in place which can provide the guarantee of taking care of their families in case of the members becoming victims of violence of militants. Since democratically conducted election to the three tier system of PRIs in Jammu and Kashmir with large participation of the people wreaked havoc with the spirits and the morale of the Pakistan sponsored and armed militants whereupon not only issuing threats in many cases to such representatives of the people by them took place but a few of them were even killed in cold blood . In many cases, the gunmen at the behest of elements from across the border coerced a few members of the PRI even to submit resignations and get disassociated from these elected institutions , however, such cases were rare indicting total rejection of such threats from the agents of Pakistan.
However, such violence did not deter nor will it in any way do in the near future , the members – say Panchs, Sarpanchs of Panchayats including Chairpersons , Vice Chairpersons, members of the District Development Councils (DDCs) and Block Development Councils (BDCs) from attending to their usual engagements, works and other developmental activities in respective areas. The Government , now having agreed in principle to provide to the next of kin of the victims of terror violence an ex-gratia payment of Rs.25 lakh is a step taken in the very right direction. The peculiar feature of this much awaited move is its prospective effect to benefit many such cases pending resolution hence clearing the mist or any ambiguities about the ”older cases” as well.
On the other hand, the Government has already provided an insurance cover of Rs.4 lakh to the members of the PRIs looking to vulnerability to threats from militants . All other central laws as applicable too are to be applied in the UT and availed of by these elected members at the grass root levels to address any fears or apprehensions . Ex-gratia payment is over and above such insurance cover and applicability of other laws in cases where any member unfortunately loses one’s life in terror violence. Security cover to the members of the PRIs wherever felt absolutely necessary too is provided by the UT Government.
In this connection, what we want to impress upon those responsible for looking into such unfortunate cases of deaths due to militancy violence and processing the files for purposes of getting ex-gratia amount is that the cases /concerned files must be disposed of expeditiously so that time taken from concerned Deputy Commissioners to Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and then to Finance Department is minimum or such a mechanism must be evolved where the files are cleared instantaneously to lend due credence and sensitivity to the very issue of payment of ex-gratia to the next of the kin of the departed member of the PRIs. The cases reportedly pending since November 2020, therefore, deserve to be brought under the ambit of the fresh directives and ”cleared” as soon as possible.