Kashmir panchayat members stage hunger strike

May 1st, 2012 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 1 (IANS) Dozens of village elders and panchayat members sat on a day’s hunger strike here Tuesday to protest against the alleged apathy of the Jammu and Kashmir government in empowering panchayats.

“We have been forced to hit the streets because we are unable to serve the people who came out against all odds casting 80 percent of their votes to elect us. Except for lofty speeches, nothing substantial is happening on the ground to make the elected sarpanches and panches effective,” said Shahnawaz, a sarpanch from the Chadura tehsil in central Kashmir.

“We have braved odds, including threats, to participate in the elections and today we are sandwiched between an insensitive administration and voters who want us to deliver,” he said.

The protesters also wore head bands bearing slogans seeking panchayat empowerment.

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