Dozens detained at panchayat members’ rally in Jammu


Jammu, December 10:

Dozens of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) members were detained here on Tuesday after they tried to take out a march in support of their various demands, including clearance of Rs 1,000 crore liabilities under the Centre’s flagship MGNERGA scheme.

The AJKPC, a frontline body of elected panchayat members, went on a week-long hunger strike on December 3 to press for their demands. It ended the hunger strike on Tuesday but tried to take out a rally when its members were detained by police.

“We are ending the hunger strike as per already chalked out programme today (Tuesday)…We have already conveyed all our genuine demands to the director rural development department who visited us during the hunger strike and are hopeful of resolution of our issues,” AJKPC president Anil Sharma told reporters before leading the protest march.

However, he threatened to intensify the agitation if the administration failed to resolve their issues.

“We will hold a one-day hunger strike in all blocks shortly followed by protest demonstrations at district headquarters during which we will submit a memorandum addressed to the prime minister to the concerned deputy commissioners,” Sharma said.

He said the protest will be followed by ‘secretariat gherao’ on March 3 if the demands were not addressed by then.

Besides other demands, the AJKPC is pressing for security cover to all sarpanches and panches in the vulnerable areas and enhancement of monthly honorarium given at the rate of Rs 2,500 to sarpanches and Rs 1,000 to panches.

Prior to the hunger strike, the AJKPC had served an ultimatum of 15 days to the Union Territory government for clearing the mounting liabilities of Rs 1,000 crore under the MGNREGA scheme.

“The poor labourers, including skilled and unskilled, have not been paid their meagre wages for years together. It was highly unfortunate that the government has become insensitive to the miseries of poor labourers,” Sharma had said earlier.


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