Jammu: Hitting out at chief minister Omar Abdullah, the Jammu and Kashmir youth Congress on Friday asked him to resign if he cannot empower and provide security to sarpanches in the state.
"Omar Abdullah should resign either he should resign leave the government or empower panchayats and provide security to the sarpanches", J and K Youth Congress Chief Shahnawaz Choudhary told reporters on the sidelines of a protest rally here.
The rally was being held to press the National Conference-led state government to enact the 73rd and 74th amendments to empower panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shahnawaz, who led a big Youth Congress protest rally against the government in Jammu today, said, "Youth Congress has come on roads in support of the demand for empowerment of panchayats and security to sarpanches-- they should leave the government or empower the panchayats and provide security to them".
The protesting Youth Congress activists raised anti-Omar slogans and blamed him for the killing of sarpanches.
"We have kept a peaceful protest today. The way police dealt with it is unfortunate government is doing injustice to people the way the sarpanches have been killed in Kashmir by militants".
"People of J and K are waiting for empowerment of panchayats for one and half years--how can government be sitting over the implementation of 73rd and 74th amendments in J and K", he said.
"People braved militant threats and took part in the elections and now we are denying them the powers and security", he said, adding, that if the government failed to empower them and provide security, agitation by Youth Congress would be intensified.
In New Delhi yesterday, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters, "We (Congress) want the government of Jammu and Kashmir to provide full security to elected Panchayat members. The party wants Sarpanches in the whole country to be empowered and adequate security provided to them".
Meanwhile, police had to use force to disperse a group of Youth Congress activists holding protest demanding more powers for Panchayati Raj Institutions.
Led by their state chief Shahnawaz Choudhary, over 400 activists took out a rally from Press Club area demanding implementation of the 73th Amendment and sought security cover for panchayat members.
Raising anti-government slogans, activists marched towards the Tawi bridge to a hold dharna, but were stopped by police.
Enraged over not being allowed to stage protest, the activists clashed with police, which resorted to cane-charge to control the protesters.
Later referring to recent killings of panchayat members in the state, Chaudhary sought more powers for local village bodies and proper security for them.
He also criticised police action against the protesters.