NEW DELHI: Additional security arrangements, including hostel-type accommodation facilities with proper perimeter control in all districts of
, are being put in place to shield grassroot-level people's representatives and political workers from terrorist threats.
The heightened protection for local representatives comes in the wake of targeting and killing of some sarpanches, panchayat members and lower-level political workers, particularly those affiliated with the
, in the Valley over the past couple of months.
Sources in the Central security establishment told TOI that with the focus now on promoting grassroot democratic institutions and pushing development initiatives at the panchayat level, a fear or impression has been created in the terrorist ranks that it is only the local governments that matter and there is nothing beyond that. "With mainstream political space shrunk and local level institutions coming into prominence, the terrorists too are bound to go after the latter," and officer said while sharing the security agencies' assessment of the string of recent attacks on sarpanch and panchayat members across
, Bandipore and Budgam.
A senior J&K police official told TOI that security agencies were seized of the matter and had planned a series of measures to address the security concerns of local people's representatives. Even though the officer refused to divulge further details, TOI has learnt that hostel-type accommodation for the local representatives as well as their families within their respective districts, is being arranged. As per sources, such accommodation facilities will have proper perimeter security and access control, minimising the potential threat of sudden attacks, abductions and killings of the representatives or their kin by the terrorists at their residences.
The J&K government had earlier announced some initiatives to instil a sense of security among sarpanches and panchayat members as well as their kin. This included a life insurance cover of Rs 25 lakh for all elected BDC chairpersons, sarpanches, panchayat members and elected members of municipal bodies, against death due to terror.