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Friday, December 9, 2022

Touted as harbingers of grass-root democracy in Kashmir by Modi govt, district representatives say they feel cheated: here’s why

Expressing their anger over the treatment meted out to them by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the District Development Council members in Kulgam district on Thursday accused the administration of not allowing them to work freely and meet the public who have elected to get their issues resolved.

Muhammed Afzal, Chairman DDC while addressing a press conference said that they were elected by the people so that their issues will be resolved but a year after the election, it seems the administration hasn’t accepted them.

The Narendra Modi government had touted the election as the first step towards implementing grass-roots democracy in the disputed region after the abrogation of Article 370, which gave limited autonomy to the Himalayan region.

“We want to tell our people that we are their servants. We have time and again intimated authorities that we want to meet people but are never allowed,” Afzal said.

“Whenever we are requesting authorities that we want to go somewhere to meet people, their reply always remains you aren’t allowed to go anywhere.”

He said that they feel cheated and deceived. “See if the chairman isn’t allowed to go anywhere then what will be the condition of others,” Afzal said.

Gulzar Ahmad, a DDC member elected on PDP ticket, while speaking on the occasion, said that they are being kept away from the people who have elected them due to which they have failed to deliver on the ground.

“Recently in our area DK Marg, untimely snowfall wreaked havoc and still we were not allowed to meet the locals. If such situation continues, the entire three-tier system will come to an end,” he said, adding that in that case, they will have no option other than to hit the roads in protest.

Abbas Ahmad, a DDC member from CPI (M) said that panchayat institutions come into existence to take democracy to a grass-root level but after conducting elections they have been kept “virtually in jail and not even allowed to come out of their rooms.”

“We have several times requested higher-ups to allow them to visit their constituencies but that isn’t happening on the ground. Union Ministers come here and inaugurate buildings in far-flung areas but elected members are ignored and bypassed and used for photo shoots only,” he said.

The disgruntled DDC members requested concerned authorities to look into their grievances, otherwise, they will be forced to come on roads.

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