Kashmir Youth Congress marches for more panchayat powers

August 24th, 2012 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 24 (IANS) Dozens of Youth Congress activists were taken into custody Friday as they held a march demanding more powers for elected village representatives in Jammu and Kashmir.

Led by state Youth Congress president Muhammad Shahnawaz Choudhary, the activists were marching towards the office of the Srinagar district magistrate to give him a memorandum seeking extension of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment to Jammu and Kashmir state.

The amendments grant constitutional status to elected rural local bodies.The amendments provide for direct elections to all seats in the panchayats, compulsory elections to panchayats every five years, mandatory reservation of seats for Dalits and advisasis in proportion to their share of the panchayat population and mandatory reservation of one-third of seats for women.

“State Congress party has already passed a resolution asking the state government to extend the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment to Jammu and Kashmir. Unless this is done, empowerment of the elected panches and sarpanches (village council heads) in the real sense would only remain a dream,” said Choudhary.

Despite boycott calls and threats from separatists, an overwhelming majority of people participated in the panchayat elections in the state in 2011. Panchayat polls were held in the state after a gap of 20 years.

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